Governor, GOP leaders continue road talks, no deal yet

The Democratic governor met face-to-face Thursday with the two GOP leaders on crafting a deal to fix the roads.

There was a farmers market on the Capitol lawn where lots of deals were made, but the same could not be said for the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the two GOP leaders who huddled to work a deal on roads.

FOX 2's Tim Skubick: "You're not going to have a deal today are you?"

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering: "Tell ya what. You go run for governor and get elected and we'll talk in private."

And off they went into a hour-long, closed door, no-media meeting. There are a host of unresolved issues starting getting yes votes to raise the gas tax to fix the roads. The yes votes would likely be there in the GOP Senate, but over in the House -- that's a deeper problem.

"It's more difficult in the House no question ... You just got people who are very careful when you vote on new revenue," said Rep. Graham Filler, R-Dewitt.

Translated: politicians running for re-election find it tough to vote yes on tax hikes.

Thursday's talks did not produce an agreement, but they did make any decisions on anything.

"I feel very encouraged by the conversation I had with the governor today," Chatfield said.

Skubick: "Did you make any decisions?"

Chatfield: "We made the decision to keep working on it."

Not only does the governor want more road revenue, she wants most of it to go to southeast Michigan, which creates a challenge for the outstate GOP speaker.

"I do believe that southeast Michigan roads are in worse shape than northern Michigan. What I do  want to make sure is being done is that no taxpayers from northern Michigan paying higher  taxes only to fix the roads in southeast Michigan. I think that's unfair," Chatfield said.

So the talks between the big three continue with an air of optimism hanging over the talks.