Well, business and political leadership was up on Mackinac Island last week for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Annual Policy Conference. One of the first big pieces of news from the conference was that the package of bills that would raise over $1 billion in additional transportation revenues for badly needed projects would not happen until 2013. Why? Because there are precious few days remaining prior to the summer break, plus the fear of raising taxes and fees in an election year. The next state legislature will have to deal with this issue.
I guess this could have and should have been predicted. What bothers me most about all of this is that the legislators still do not understand that by waiting, we are not saving dollars, just increasing the size and the cost of the job that has to be done. It will take longer and cost more to fix our highway and transit problems. The Transportation Asset Management Council has data that indicates that for every year we fail to address our pavement and bridge needs, it will cost us about an additional $1 billion to fix! Incredible! The legislature’s failure to act will cost us an additional billion dollars! Their failure to act last year cost us another billion dollars and if they don’t act next year, it will be another billion dollars.
How many billion more will it take until the light goes on and the legislature increases resources? Both sides of the aisle claim to worry about the size of the deficit we are leaving our children. This action tells me otherwise. The governor gets it. He proposed and supports the increase of $1.4 billion for additional transportation needs. When will the legislature?
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