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Lawmakers beginning discussions on MI transportation funding

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-992542.mp3

LANSING, MI –

Governor Rick Snyder's suggestion that the state could raise vehicle registration fees to help pay for Michigan's infrastructure has gotten a lukewarm reception at the state Capitol. But as Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, lawmakers have been discussing alternatives to help generate more than a billion dollars in additional revenue for bridges and roads.

Republican state Senator John Proos says some of the money collected from the sales tax paid on gasoline should be earmarked specifically for transportation and infrastructure. He says he knows relying on fuel and sales taxes as a solid source of road funding is complicated because the price and demand for gasoline is always in flux.

"You're looking at a decrease in value over time as we have higher fuel economy standards, etcetera," he says. "But the reality of it is we have the money today, we just ought to make sure it goes to the right place."

Another proposal in the state Senate would eliminate the state's fuel tax in favor of an increase in the sales tax to pay for infrastructure. That constitutional change would need to be approved by voters. Legislative leaders say they are considering all transportation funding proposals, but they are not interested in raising taxes.

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