New gas tax puts Michigan prices among highest in nation - WNEM TV 5

New gas tax puts Michigan prices among highest in nation

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Folks heading back to work in the new year are feeling extra pain at the pump.

With the new year came a new gas tax in Michigan, putting ours among the highest in the nation.

The new tax is part of a plan to raise money for roads and bridges approved by the state legislature and Governor Rick Snyder in 2015.

It’s meant to generate about $450 million to fix our crumbling infrastructure but does that matter to drivers footing the bill?

Jalen Payne of Grand Blanc got used to dishing out about $27 to fill up his SUV. Now, he's gearing up to spend more like $35 dollars to fill the same tank. He said it's hurting his pockets.

“I just don't want to pay more money. I think it should just stay low like it's always been,” Payne said.

With a new year came new gas prices across Michigan. As part of a spending bill to pump millions into the state's broken roads, highways and bridges, gas taxes went up 7.3 cents a gallon for regular and 11.3 cents for diesel.

Truck owners like Chris Snavely paid $2.59 a gallon in Grand Blanc, 24 cents more than last week. 

“I mean you're lucky to get 15 miles to the gallon. When you're driving back and forth to work every day, it adds up,” Snavely said.

Drivers said there's no doubt Michigan needs to invest in its transportation infrastructure and they're ready to see the money they pay in taxes reflected in improved road conditions.

“My wife hit a pot hole the other day. It ruined her tire. It was almost $300 for a tire,” Snavely said.

They're just not confident that the money generated from one of the highest gas taxes in the country will actually go towards needed improvements. 

“I don't think it's going to get fixed,” Payne said.

Ron Monroe said he's concerned about the implications these higher prices will have on senior citizens and people living on fixed incomes.

“When you're on social security, you know, trying to make a living it's pretty tough,” Monroe said.

He said highway tolls, an alternative to higher gas taxes, wouldn't be so bad.

“I don't mind paying the highway tolls. It's a pretty quick system,” Monroe said.

Drivers were equally upset about rising vehicle registration fees. The both of these combined will cost the average consumer about $60 more a year.

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