Home Payday loans app Turns out Gretchen Whitmer says she needs more time to ‘fix the fucking roads’

Turns out Gretchen Whitmer says she needs more time to ‘fix the fucking roads’

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But we are making great progress. We’ve repaired over 13,000 miles of track (and) 900 bridges. If we hadn’t done anything, the problem would have gotten worse.

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The day after winning the 2018 election, Whitmer said “people have really sent us a very clear message: they want us to fix these goddamn roads.”

In 2019, Whitmer proposed raising Michigan’s gasoline tax from 27 cents to 45 cents per gallon, which would have left the state with the highest rate in the nation.

But the plan went nowhere in the Republican-led Legislature, and even Democrats distanced themselves from the proposal, which a poll found was opposed by 75% of residents.

Instead, Whitmer sidestepped lawmakers with a $3.5 billion bail plan, while the state’s GOP slammed the governor for not fixing roads on his own, flagging plans to remind voters of potholes early and often in the election year.

Whitmer is trying to “move the goalposts” on his 2018 campaign promise, Eric Ventimiglia, executive director of the conservative advocacy group Michigan Rising Action, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Anyone who drives Michigan’s roads knows that ‘fixing those fucking roads’ was just a false promise to win an election.”

Whitmer scoffed at the criticism.

“Ironically, it was the leadership of this (Republican) party that stood in the way of a real solution,” she told Bridge Michigan.

Whitmer’s loan program is expected to fund the reconstruction of dozens of state highways and bridges, but not local roads. To date, the Michigan Department of Transportation has issued $1.6 billion in bonds.

Despite the investment, experts predict Michigan’s roads will continue to deteriorate for years to come. In 2021, only 25% of state roads and 20% of local roads were deemed to be in good condition, according to the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, which projects that only 19% of roads will remain in good condition by 2033.

A $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill is expected to provide Michigan with an additional $2.3 billion in funding for roads and bridges over five years. Whitmer proposed using the first $428 million of fiscal 2023, including $334 million for the state and $94.4 million for local roads and bridges.

Michigan is already “moving dirt” and “we’re going to be able to verify a lot more” thanks to the “huge investment” from the federal government, Whitmer said Wednesday at a Mackinac Island news conference with the US Secretary. of Transport Pete Buttigieg.

Michigan is “exceptionally well positioned to take advantage” of new federal dollars because Whitmer has gotten a “quick start” by focusing on state-level infrastructure, Buttigieg said in a conference speech, noting that Whitmer l ‘calls “Fix the Damn’s secretary”. Roads.”

“The U.S. transportation and infrastructure sector now has a level of federal support we haven’t seen in most of our lives,” said Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who recently bought a house near Traverse City, where her husband grew up.

Whitmer on Wednesday signed an executive directive to expedite state approval of infrastructure projects that will cost $50 million or more, which she says will allow Michigan to pump in new funding more “efficiently and effectively.” federal road infrastructure.

Motorists will see the difference this summer during what she predicted will be “the busiest construction season ever” in Michigan, Whitmer said.

Whitmer this year vetoed Republican legislation to suspend state gasoline taxes for six months amid record prices, citing the potential impact on infrastructure funding.

She indicated she was open to considering a shorter “break”. Negotiations are ongoing, the governor said Wednesday.

Although they disagree on how or whether to generate new revenue for the state, Whitmer and the GOP-led Legislature have had no problem spending federal dollars. The Democratic governor and GOP leaders struck a $4.7 billion deal in March using state surplus and federal stimulus money to fund repairs and upgrades to aging infrastructure across the country. State.

The mid-year spending plan included more than $1.7 billion for projects to improve drinking water and wastewater systems, $450 million for parks and trails, $317 million for road and bridge repairs and $250 million for broadband infrastructure grants to expand service.

This bipartisan deal used $945 million from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. But that’s just a fraction of the $10 billion in new and existing federal funding the state is set to receive for transportation, water and broadband infrastructure over five years.

Whitmer also created a new Michigan Infrastructure Office to oversee spending plans and collaborative projects. The state is also focusing on a new “main streets strategy” to improve key corridors across the state, which should help people “feel the positive impacts” in the “heart of communities,” Whitmer said. during the press conference with Buttigieg.

Six months after President Joe Biden signed the law, which included bipartisan support from Republican lawmakers like retired U.S. Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the federal government has already allocated more than $100 billion in new funding. infrastructure to the states, Buttigieg said.

No long term solution

Experts say even the massive influx of federal funds won’t be enough to fix Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure, especially with inflation and supply chain issues driving price increases for labor work and materials.

Federal dollars can help maintain infrastructure for a few years while Michigan officials look for longer-term solutions, said Rob Coppersmith, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

“The federal money is what I would consider a down payment on our future,” Coppersmith told Bridge on Wednesday. “The reality is that if we don’t do anything in the next few years…we’re going to have deficit spending again.”

One solution, he said, is to implement the “Vehicle Miles Driven” tax, a policy that taxes drivers based on the miles they drive rather than the amount of fuel they drive. they consume. In 2020, there were 86.3 billion miles traveled on all roads, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The idea appears to be “growing in popularity in many circles,” including among some members of the state legislature, Coppersmith said. For example, House lawmakers included funding for a study on vehicle miles traveled in its budget proposal, though the final version will come after lawmakers negotiate with the Democratic governor.

“Then we have a structure that’s in place forever, so it doesn’t matter if your car runs on grape juice or gasoline, everyone pays the same to drive on our road,” Coppersmith said.

A recent poll conducted for the Detroit Regional Chamber suggests roads and infrastructure remain a top issue for Michigan voters, second only to concerns about the economy and inflation.

About 13% of voters identified roads as the most important issue facing the state, according to Glengariff Group Inc.’s survey of 600 registered voters.

Buttigieg acknowledged that inflation and supply chain issues threaten to weaken the purchasing power of state and local governments that are alive for federal infrastructure funding. He blamed global and historical factors leading up to the Biden administration.

Decades of “continued underinvestment in every part of our transportation infrastructure left us vulnerable to shocks, and then we had the mother of all shocks,” Buttigieg said, referring to COVID-19.