March 2, 2015 – It is March 2 – three months before we vote on May 5 to increase funding for Michigan’s crumbling roads. So where are we at this moment?
- The educated public is just now starting to understand the ramifications of the proposal and all of the other things tied to it.
- The yet-to-be-educated public is still listening to the press, who continue to present the proposal as “raising the sales tax to pay for roads,” which it isn’t.
- Well-funded opposition to the proposal has been formed and is now advertising against the proposal with some incredibly ridiculous ads.
- Well-funded support for the proposal is late forming, but is starting to take shape. I have yet to hear any ads.
- Many in the legislature are trying, by their actions, to show that there is plenty of money to improve transportation, but it is just not being spent correctly.
- Numerous polls indicate that approval of the proposal is receiving only in the neighborhood of 40 percent of the vote at this point.
If this ballot proposal is to pass, it will need to pick up steam quickly. We have a couple of things working for us. The first is a potential great crop of pot holes. It has been a very cold winter – one of the coldest recorded. Last year, we found from our annual survey that another 500 miles of road moved from the fair to the poor category. I will be surprised if we don’t have the same experience this spring as more and more band aids fail to contain the wounds of our road system. Just in time to sway a “yes” vote? Could be.
The second hope is that the pro group is only now getting organized. Hopefully, more organization, dollars, and education will help people wade through all of the complications and see the simple message here – a yes vote means better roads. A no vote means more bad roads. If you remember nothing else, remember that.
For more information on the proposal, please visit SEMCOG’s website at www.semcog.org.
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