FOX 2 - Political poker and Michigan roads. The high stakes game is on and Governor Gretchen Whitmer played a big card during her State of the State speech.
Frustrated with the lack of progress working with the Republican-controlled legislature, the Democratic governor took executive action and now the state is issuing $3.5 billion in bonds to pay for fixing Michigan's horrible highways. I guess you can say at least it's something. It will allow the state to fund more than 120 road projects over the next five years.
But before anyone takes a victory lap, that's a lot of debt that tax payers will have to pay back with interest. And this plan doesn't cover county and local roads - the ones that most of us drive on every day. The real answer is we need a comprehensive strategy that's sustainable. Bonds don't pay for themselves, so that means at some point, there will need to be revenue sources. Whether that comes from taxes, toll roads or at the expense of currently funded programs. And it's up to the governor and legislature to make those hard decisions.
What strikes me, is the governor has made a campaign promise she's dead-set on keeping - even if that means adding tremendous debt. And so far, Republicans can't figure out a way to negotiate with her for a solution. Both sides need to be better. The governor needs to show us more than a short-term plan, and tells us where the money comes from to pay the bill.
And Republicans, they need to keep pushing alternatives and work - not fight - with the governor. Fixing the roads has to be a bipartisan effort, otherwise we will just end up with a partial solution. This isn't about getting reelected. For both sides it's about why you were elected.
But for now, the governor has the upper hand and every time you hit a pothole on a local street she says don't blame her, blame Republican lawmakers because she's fixing the roads. But remember, her plan only fixes some of the roads - and at a high price. So right now, there's still plenty of plenty of blame to go around.
I'm Greg Easterly and that's my two cents.