GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Rick Snyder wants to boost vehicle license fees and tax motor fuels at the wholesale level to raise billions of dollars for repairing Michigan's ailing roads and bridges.
Snyder made the quest for more transportation revenue the centerpiece of his annual State of the State address Wednesday.
The Republican governor has decided not to seek an increase in the per-gallon tax charged at the gas pump. Instead, he wants to swap that system for one where gasoline and diesel fuel are taxed at the wholesale level. That would enable tax collections to rise with inflation.
Under its current system, Michigan ranks sixth in gas tax rates nationally. It ranked thirteenth last year.
"Let's be blunt. This is about additional user fees," the governor said.
Snyder argued $1 billion to $1.2 billion invested in the infrastructure each year would save money in the end. He said there would be more construction jobs created, safer road conditions for drivers, and less money spent for car repairs.
The governor compared the average cost in Michigan with four nearby states.
"On average, we spend more than $81 more than the surrounding states," he said.
Still, any kind of increased revenue is a tough sell politically.
Georgiana Holts sees the need for road improvements. She said she's "busted like three tires already" on her car due to potholes.
But Holts worries about high gas prices already, and she says any possible increase limit her driving.
"It's getting ridiculous," she said. "I can't afford it."
When 24 Hour News 8 asked her where Wednesday's proposals left her, Holts said she was "broke and confused."
Snyder also wants to let local governments boost vehicle registration fees to raise money for local roads.
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Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.