By State Representative Bob Kosowski – The citizens of Michigan have spoken loud and clear that Proposal 1 was not the right remedy to fix our roads. With nearly 1.4 million Michiganders voting no and 351,000 voting yes, it was the largest margin of defeat for a proposed constitutional amendment in state history. I am a firm believer in democracy and this was the most opportune way to let each citizen’s voice be heard.
We have to go back to the drawing board and look at areas we’ve addressed before. It would be easy to simply raise the tax at the fuel pump, but I also think we need to look outside the box at unconventional methods that are now in play. For instance, methods such as fees per thousand miles driven on Michigan roads or even looking at the possibility of toll roads. While toll roads might not be the answer today, we should be considering them for our future. We need to work on a long-term strategy and not a short-term fix.
One potential solution to the road funding crisis is to charge drivers a fee based on how many miles they drive. With fuel consumption declining due to vehicles becoming more efficient and electric vehicles more common, road funding mechanisms based on fuel taxes are outdated. I am not stating this is a solution but every idea needs to be on the table in future road funding discussions.
As discussions progress, we need to figure out how and why our roads get in such bad shape in the first place. In order to find the right solution, we need to figure out what is causing the problems with our roads in the first place. When building Michigan roads there needs to be accountability. Stringent penalties should be strictly enforced. I believe there needs to be warranties attached to all future work done in order to ensure accountability statewide.
There are plenty of other states that do not face the same road funding issues that Michigan has been faced with and we need to look at the models these states use. Raising registration fees for Michiganders is a method that I will not entertain unless it is a modest increase. It is now on the legislature to enact a plan that will give Michigan the funding necessary to ensure better travel for all. I am looking forward to being involved in creating a plan that will do just that. My goal is to make roads as safe as possible without burdening citizens. I welcome any suggestions from any of my constituents.