State Senate leader plans to up the ante on road funding in coming weeks

Until recently, it seemed like boosting the state’s gas tax, vehicle registration fees, or other new sources of revenue to help fix Michigan’s crumbling roads was off the table this year.

But now, state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he hopes to introduce such a plan in the coming weeks.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Richardville told reporters Tuesday.

Last week, the state House approved legislation that would boost road spending by about $500 million a year. That’s about a third of what experts say is needed to keep roads from crumbling further.

Richardville says he won’t be happy with anything less than a full solution.

“I think the number one phrase that I’ve gotten back from home is, ‘Just fix the damn roads.’ And that’s what we intend to do,” he said.

It’s not clear what kind of revenue increase the Republican leader plans to propose. Gov. Rick Snyder has urged lawmakers to boost Michigan’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees to pay for road improvements.

Some lawmakers say approving a smaller road funding increase could make it harder to pass a more comprehensive plan later.