Schmidt: slow down on infrastructure money

- Gov. Rick Snyder presented the concept in his State of the State last night to raise new revenues to repair the state's sagging and aging infrastructure - but not the details on how to raise the money and, as far as state senator Wayne Schmidt is concerned, there is no rush to flesh out those details.

The governor got everyone's attention with his line about needing to find revenue from "fees, taxes, grants, and bonds," but that was it. To which the former chair of the House Transportation Committee asserts the state has "coasted for a long time" but "there's no question. We have to see what Washington is going to do first."

His reference, of course, is to statements from the president-elect that the new Trump administration will offer its own version of infrastructure restructuring and until and unless that is revealed, Senator Schmidt concludes, "I'm not sure how the legislature feels," and he favors doing nothing on the Snyder administration blueprint now. "I don't believe so. It's certainly not what I want to do."

He reports the state needs to gauge the spending of the $600 million being spent on the roads. "What is the impact of that?" he wants to find out and is willing to wait "two years" to reach that conclusion.

The state could take the lead on this reform but he's in no mood to do that either. "That's a pretty fair conclusion."

Meanwhile back in Macomb County, home of the infamous Fraser sinkhole, Rep. Pete Lucida sees no need for any state revenue right now suggesting  the money should come from the local governments.

"We need to budget at local government as much as we can first," he argues while suggesting there is not enough state revenue to fix all these infrastructure challenges that may pop-up around the state.

The locals have complained they don't have the revenue either.

Sen. Coleman Young, II thinks the governor should go for it. "If he's serious and he wants to be a leader, he needs to raise the revenue. I don't think he has a choice. Just do it and let the chips fall where they may."

Gov. Snyder has said earlier that it is unrealistic to begin this program at $4 billion a year as his infrastructure commission suggests. "We have a road map and we should begin to go down that road," he believes but the dollar amount and funding sources remain to be divulged.


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