A local lawmaker has co-sponsored a bill that would give the Legislature more oversight regarding the purchase of bonds for road repair and maintenance.
Republican State Senator Lana Theis announced on Tuesday she co-sponsored legislation that would limit the ability of the State Transportation Commission (STC) to purchase bonds to fix and maintain the state’s crumbling roads and bridges without notification to and consideration from the Legislature. Senate Bill 716 would require the STC to notify the Legislature 30 days prior to issuing any transportation bonds in excess of $100(m) million and would give the Legislature the authority to reject the issuance of those bonds within 30 days. The legislation comes in response to action being considered by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to use the bonding mechanism to provide a fix for the state’s roads.
Theis says taxpayers are still paying off road bonding debt from governors Granholm and Engler, adding that the last thing the state needs to fix its roads is more long-term debt as she feels history proves bonding is a terrible strategy. Theis also notes that road funding reforms enacted in 2015 will not be fully implemented until October 1st, at which time an additional $1.2(b) billion is expected to have been available for transportation needs since 2017.
In response, Whitmer’s Communications Director, Zack Pohl, told WHMI that, “Michigan has the worst roads in the nation. Our roads are dangerous, and the longer we wait to fix them, the more expensive it gets. But Republican legislators keep putting up roadblocks to road repairs, and drivers are paying the price. Their dirt road agenda is bad for drivers and bad for business. The governor is not interested in signing any legislation that will limit her executive authority or make it harder to fix our roads. It’s time for Republicans to get serious and work across the aisle with Democrats to pass a long-term solution to fix the damn roads now.”
SB 716, which was introduced on Tuesday, has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. (DK/JK)