Lawmakers Must Act on Transportation Funding
William J. Kimble & Kevin McKinney
A recent Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) survey revealed that our members feel that the number one issue facing the Greater Lansing region is funding for roads, transportation and infrastructure. In fact, over 70 percent of survey respondents said it was the most important use of their taxpayer dollars.
The LRCC Board of Directors representing over 1,100 businesses in the tri-county region recently went on the record asking our state lawmakers to support efforts to increase revenue for transportation and infrastructure in Michigan.
The LRCC Board and the organization have long supported the concept of increasing transportation funding and continue to recognize the critical need to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads to improve our overall economy. The cost to Michigan citizens and businesses are continuing to increase from added supply chain expenses to vehicle repairs.
The LRCC strongly believes that investing in transportation infrastructure will be a key driver for growing our economic base in Mid-Michigan. There are a variety of provisions that have been, are being or could be considered as part of a comprehensive road funding proposal.
Unfortunately, the legislature failed to reach consensus before summer recess.
It now will take at least $1.5 to $2.0 billion annually to maintain our infrastructure, with that number continuing to increase exponentially. We believe the current proposals before lawmakers, while inadequate to meet Michigan’s transportation needs, is a good first start. We are encouraging the legislature to be aggressive in continuing to work to find a significant increase in Michigan’s transportation funding system.
We also continue to support Michigan’s historic commitment to funding roads through a user based system. We are open to new ideas, and believe the basic structure of this package is sound, but we would certainly like to see it go further. We also support opportunities for improved public transit, and encourage the Legislature to address the state’s full transportation structure and be equitable in the distribution of funding including local roads which are vital to business and economic development, schools, public safety, health care and the revitalization of our communities.
The business community is appreciative for the work that our state lawmakers do on our behalf, as well as the work of the Governor to develop policies that continue to grow Michigan’s economy. We want to encourage lawmakers to be bold and to unify behind a proposal that will produce structural changes and a long-term plan to improve Michigan’s infrastructure over the next decade.
We also encourage Chamber members to contact their local legislator and urge them to make the tough decisions necessary to fix our crumbling roads and infrastructure.
William Kimble is president and chief executive officer of C2AE and serves as chair of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Kevin McKinney is the owner of McKinney & Associates and serves as the Government Relations Division Director, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors