Category Archives: Transportation

Vintage trailers and motor coaches tour around Northern Michigan

The Tin Can Tourists, a vintage camping group, will tour state parks in northern Michigan July 30-Aug. 8

The Tin Can Tourists, a vintage camping group, will tour state parks in northern Michigan July 30-Aug. 8

A vintage camper and trailer tour is hitting the road this week.

A group called the “Tin Can Tourists Club” is sponsoring the tour. The group enjoys the restoration and history of trailers and campers. Continue reading

Ballot campaign aims to boost business tax for roads

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A union-led petition drive is trying to increase the state’s Corporate Income Tax rate from 6 percent to 11 percent. The revenue would be used to fix roads.

Increasing the rate by 5 percentage points would generate about $900 million a year toward Governor Rick Snyder’s goal of $1.2 billion in new revenue for road repairs. It would also be a major change to the 2011 business tax overhaul engineered by Snyder and Republicans in the Legislature. Continue reading

Without a deal this week, road funding talks may have to wait until the fall

The state House is scheduled to meet one day this week to try and reach a compromise on road funding.

If a deal doesn’t get done on Tuesday, talks may have to wait until the fall. The House is scheduled to begin a month-long break on Wednesday.

State officials say the longer the talks drag on, the more expensive it gets to fix the state’s crumbling roads.

Portrait, Director Kirk Steudle

Portrait, Director Kirk Steudle

“The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost us,” said Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk Steudle.

“We could pay now or pay more later. And, frankly, we’re getting to the point where it’s about to be pay more later.”

For almost four years, Steudle and Gov. Rick Snyder have said lawmakers must boost road funding by at least $1.2 billion a year to keep the roads from getting worse. Groups representing construction workers say the number is closer to $2 billion.

Steudle points out lawmakers have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time money into the roads this year.

“But on a larger scale, the whole system is still continuing to decline,” he said.

State House Republicans appear to be divided on raising taxes to boost road funding. The state Senate approved a plan that would raise the state’s gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years. That proposal would eventually boost road funding by about $1.5 billion a year.

Snyder still confident of road deal in 2015

Governor Rick Snyder press event at M-10 and LTU to Fix the Roads.

Governor Rick Snyder says he hasn’t given up on getting a deal for more than a $1 billion dollars in new road revenue through the Legislature. Lawmakers adjourned this week without voting on a roads package.

But, at an event in Detroit, the governor said he’s still confident a deal can come together in 2015. Continue reading

Representatives leave Lansing for the week with no road funding compromise

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There’s no road funding deal to speak of as state representatives leave Lansing for the week. That means a vote on any plan will have to wait until next week – and possibly until the fall.

It appears Republicans in the state House remain divided on whether a gas tax increase should be part of any plan to boost road funding. Continue reading

As state House gets set to take up roads, Dem leader criticizes Senate plan

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Democrats in the state Legislature are criticizing Republican plans to boost road funding. That’s as the House gets set to take up the debate next week.

The state Senate approved a plan last week that would boost the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years and shift $700 million from other areas of the budget. It also includes a possible rollback in the state income tax rate. Continue reading

Snyder signs new budget, remains optimistic about road deal

Governor Rick Snyder has signed the new 54-billion dollar state budget. It has money for roads, schools, prisons, and healthcare. But a solution on funding road repairs remains elusive.

Governor Snyder says voters sent a message when they rejected Proposal One last month, and that was for the state to come up with the money to fix roads. The new budget has some stop-gap funding, but falls far short of the 1.2 billion dollars in new revenue that he’s called for. Continue reading

Proposal in Lansing would add emergency contacts to state IDs

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A measure in Lansing would allow for encrypted emergency contact information on your driver’s license or state ID.

The information could include the name, address, and phone number of your chosen contact person. Continue reading

$1 billion dollar road funding proposal clears state House

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A plan to boost road funding by about a billion dollars a year has cleared the state House. The Republican proposal relies mostly on shifting existing funds in the state budget instead of significantly raising taxes.

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter unveiled the plan after the historic failure of Proposal One. He says voters want the Legislature to prioritize existing revenues to help fix the roads. Continue reading

Bill allowing ‘pedal pubs’ in Michigan moving through the Legislature

Great Lakes Pub Cruiser

Great Lakes Pub Cruiser

Michigan would allow people to drink alcohol on so-called “pedal pubs” under bills making their way through the Legislature.

A state House panel on Tuesday approved regulating the four-wheel pedal-powered vehicles, which allow people to drink alcohol while cycling between destinations. Continue reading

State House nearing vote on road funding proposal

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Republican leaders in the state House hope to hold a vote Wednesday on their proposal to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year.

New money for roads would mostly come from projected revenue increases over the next few years and by shifting existing funds in the state budget. Continue reading

National Trail Day has communities planning events and talking about a proposed trail

Picture courtesy of the DNR

Picture courtesy of the DNR

Communities around the state are planning events for National Trail Day on Saturday.

One trail that’s not built yet has been gathering some attention. It’s a ten-thousand mile trail around the Great Lakes. Continue reading

New K-12 budget includes early literacy funding

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The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year.

The K-through-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-through-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder. Continue reading

Lawmakers eye electric vehicles for road money

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Republican state lawmakers are looking to drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles as a potential source of more road funds. But environmental groups say now is not the time to make alternative fuel cars more expensive.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are already more expensive than fossil-fuel-powered cars and trucks, which also means higher sales taxes and registration fees. Continue reading

House committee begins road funding hearings

A special state House committee has begun deliberations on how to find more than $1 billion for roads and transportation. That’s after voters overwhelmingly said “no” to the Legislature’s last plan on the May ballot.

House Republican leaders say they want a solution in hand in less than a month. They say the plan is to search for savings and efficiencies before tackling the tougher questions about raising revenue. Continue reading

Snyder, lawmakers sort through Proposal 1 wreckage

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Voters said no Tuesday to Proposal One by a margin of almost four-to-one. But, as unhappy as people were with the ballot question, they’re still unhappy with the state of Michigan’s roads. So Governor Rick Snyder and lawmakers say they’ll go back to work on finding money for roads – and they will heed the lessons of Proposal One. Continue reading

Voters reject Snyder road funding ballot proposal

voters-turn-out-for-michigan-primary-elections-c238bfa5496bdcccMichigan voters have soundly rejected Proposal One — Governor Rick Snyder’s two (b) billion dollar plan to fund road repairs without siphoning money from schools and local governments.

The loss sends the governor and the Legislature back to the bargaining table because almost everyone still agrees the roads are bad.
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