The Michigan Senate is considering whether to raise $1.5 billion more a year to fix roads through fuel-tax increases and other moves.
The Republican-led chamber amended House-approved legislation Wednesday to effectively raise the 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax to more than 45 cents by 2018, if fuel prices stay intact. The senators may vote on the plan next week.
The tax increase would be phased in, rising to near 30 cents a gallon in January. It could go up at least 5 cents in each of the following three years.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says it's time to fix the roads and a bipartisan deal is within reach.
Minority Democrats say they worry that the tax increase would disproportionately hit lower-income drivers. They want assurances that the minimum wage will rise.
It's no secret Michigan residents are fed up with the roads.
"Definitely something needs to be done. The roads in this area are very bad," said Stephan Stewart, Michigan resident. "You don't see anyone actually working on them. You see them putting that black patch down and it's really ineffective in this climate."
Michigan senators think they may have an answer. Michigan residents currently pay 19 cents a gallon in gas tax at the pump. The senators are thinking about increasing that tax and using that money to fix the roads.
"I mean the gas goes up and down all the time anyway, so what's a few extra cents anyway? For a good cause, correct, because our roads are so bad. If we have such bad roads no one will come to Michigan," said Anthony Conrad, Michigan resident.
"If it fixed the roads sure, but I don't think it's actually working," said Dave Strunk, Michigan resident.
"If it works great. I'd be fine with it. I'm already paying astronomical as it is so an extra dollar to make sure the roads are good, that'd be fine. But if it's not going to work, I want my money back," Strunk said.
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