Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is urging Republican legislators to send her budget bills before the Sept. 30 deadline. Budget talks between Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders have slowed over transportation funding allocations.
Republicans proposed moving an additional $500 million of general funds to the transportation budget, which will also receive income tax revenue under 2015 road-funding laws. Whitmer opposes this use of general funds due to concerns about removing the revenue from other programs. Earlier, both sides agreed to table talks on a long-term road-funding plan until after finalizing the budget.
Continued delays in comprehensive road funding will drive up costs, experts warn. According to Lance Binoniemi of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association the funding need grows about $100 million a year as road conditions continue to worsen. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan’s roads a D- based on condition, funding, future need, operation, public safety, and innovation.
If a budget is not passed before Oct. 1, Michigan will go into a partial government shutdown, halting state road and bridge repairs and causing lay-offs for about 30,000 state workers.