Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on March 5 proposed a 45 cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase as part of her first executive budget and an attempt to fulfill her campaign promise to “fix the damn roads.” Beginning Oct. 1, the tax increase would be phased in by 15 cent increments in October, April and October 2020, raising the current rate of 26.3 cents per gallon to 71.3 cents per gallon, or the highest in the nation. The increase is expected to generate an additional $2.5 billion annually, with a greater portion of the revenue allocated to roads that support the most traffic.
Whitmer’s proposal is not expected to be well received by the Republican-led legislature, which narrowly passed a 7.3 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase in 2015. State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R – 16) has recognized Michigan’s transportation needs, but said that increasing gas taxes is not a long-term solution due to rising fuel efficiency and fuel alternatives.
Whitmer said the impact on the typical motorist would be about $276 a year — considerably less than the cost of road-related repairs, which a recent study pegged at $562 per motorist per year.