Michigan Republicans, Republican-Fail — October 28, 2015 at 11:51 am

The epic failure of Michigan Republicans on road funding in 101 news headlines


The picture above is a screenshot of a Detroit Free Press article published yesterday. In the article, Gov. Snyder paints on an optimistic smile and says he’s confident that there is “strong momentum” for something getting done on road funding, despite a half decade of failed efforts on his part and on the part of his Republican colleagues in the state legislature:

Four years and one day after he first called for a major increase in road funding, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday cited “strong momentum” for a deal despite the latest delay.

Snyder, in a statement released after the Senate adjourned without a planned vote on a $1.2 billion House roads package, said his optimism was informed by afternoon discussions with Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter.

“I believe there is strong momentum to provide the resources we need to halt decades of decline in our roads and bridges, making them safer for Michiganders now and for years to come,” he said.

“There is room to work in the days ahead to ensure a comprehensive transportation solution that’s fiscally responsible and allows us to continue investing in our core priorities that help Michiganders and fuel our state’s comeback.”

The headline and the rhetoric were so familiar to me that I decided to take a stroll the through the history of Michigan Republicans’ years-long failure to find a solution to our road funding crisis. The problem dates back to 2010 when they first took total control over our state government right as the economy was beginning to rebound, largely thanks to the seeds planted by former governor Jennifer Granholm working closely with the Obama administration.

The story of this epic failure is told below in 101 news headlines. For five full years, in ever single instance where a deal, a solution to our infrastructure catastrophe seemed imminent, Republicans failed to carry it through to fruition.

Every. Single. Time.

It is nothing short of astonishing.

February 28, 2010 – How can Michigan’s economy get moving if its roads are riddled with potholes?
May 9, 2010 – Lawmakers continue to dawdle as Michigan’s roads crumble

September 19, 2011 – Michigan’s Roads Crisis: What Will It Cost to Maintain Our Roads and Bridges?
September 22, 2011 – State lawmakers propose long-term effort to fix crumbling Michigan roads
October 9, 2011 – Townships, road commission struggle for answers to crumbling roads
October 26, 2011 – From registration fees to fuel taxes: 10 keys to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s infrastructure plan

January 31, 2012 – Michigan’s plan to fix roads gets poor showing in polls, stiff opposition expected
February 7, 2012 – Lawmakers working to replace Michigan’s gas tax with a sales tax increase
February 15, 2012 – Michigan needs to boost its investment in repairing the state’s road and highway infrastructure
March 22, 2012 – New report: Cost to fix Michigan’s roads going up as Legislature delays action on new funding
May 19, 2012 – Rusty and rutted, infrastructure holds Michigan back
October 30, 2012 – Tim Skubick: Money for road, bridge repairs face huge hurdles – especially if Prop 5 passes

January 30, 2013 – Bills offer two options for Michigan road funding: 8% sales tax, or higher registration and gas taxes
February 8, 2013 – Gov. Snyder calls for higher gas tax, fees to fund Michigan road repairs while in Flint
March 1, 2013 – Michigan road funding: Republicans working on new plan to raise sales tax, exempt fuel purchases
March 4, 2013 – Michigan road funding: Senator proposes selling ads on bridges, naming rights to public assets
April 30, 2013 – Michigan road funding: House panel debates 20% registration fee increase, more for electric/hybrids
May 18, 2013 – Michigan’s $483M Surplus May Go To Road Repairs
June 4, 2013 – Michigan road funding: Critics question ‘fairness’ of increased fees for electric vehicles, motorcycles
June 11, 2013 – Despite budget snub, MDOT chief takes road funding stump to Grand Rapids
July 29, 2013 – Over 60 Percent Of Michigan Roads Ranked As Poor Or Fair
August 12, 2013 – Michigan legislative leaders looking to boost road funding but still debating sales tax solution
August 14, 2013 – Michigan road funding: Lawmakers talk sales tax bump, but November proposal ‘very, very unlikely’
September 19, 2013 – Pot for potholes? GOP state lawmaker wants legal marijuana to pay for roads
September 12, 2013 – Snyder Backs Off Big Gas Tax Hike
October 24, 2013 – MDOT Director: Michigan roads are ‘going to get worse every year’ without new investment
December 8, 2013 – Tim Skubick: Gov. Snyder’s road-funding pursuit has been long and volatile path to nowhere
December 19, 2013 – $115 Million To Fund 103 Michigan Road Projects

January 13, 2014 – Expect Gov. Rick Snyder to try again on $1B for roads, school and no-fault reforms
February 5, 2014 – Michigan budget: Gov. Rick Snyder proposing one-time road funding bump absent long-term solution
February 11, 2014 – MDOT: Harsh winter may mean more potholes, pavement cracks than ‘we’ve ever seen’ in Michigan
February 13, 2014 – Michigan ranks last of all 50 states on per capita road spending
February 20, 2014 – Michigan Senate approves supplemental spending bill with $100M for emergency road maintenance
February 26, 2014 – Gov. Snyder says patching potholes won’t solve Michigan’s road problems
March 3, 2014 – Michigan road funding just right, says state senator seeking re-election
March 12, 2014 – Lawmakers approve $215M bill to repair Michigan roads
March 19, 2014 – Michigan road ‘crisis’ report now pegs annual funding need at $2 billion and growing
April 10, 2014 Funding for Michigan road repairs stalls as state elections near
May 1, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Senate leader taking another look at tax, fee options to get to $1B goal
May 9, 2014 – Michigan House approves massive road funding bill
May 15, 2014 – Could Michigan drivers pay fees based on miles driven? Report says yes
May 20, 2014 – Richardville looks to ‘fix the damn roads’ with up to $1.5 billion from higher fuel taxes, other sources
May 25, 2014 – Poll: Crumbling Michigan roads No. 1 issue for voters
May 29, 2014 – Gov. Rick Snyder expects higher overweight truck fees to be part of Michigan road funding solution
June 4, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Senate Republicans talk ‘hybrid’ gas tax, sales tax solution
June 4, 2014 – Legislature could deal with Michigan’s crumbling roads before summer recess
June 13, 2014 – Lawmakers let roads crumble, break for summer with no pothole fix
June 14, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Construction crews lose summer season, will lawmakers lose votes?
August 14, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Senate work group seeks to ‘wipe the slate clean,’ develop new long-term plan
October 20, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Chamber of Commerce talking petition drive if lawmakers don’t act
November 4, 2014 – Snyder says first priority is fixing Michigan’s roads
November 13, 2014 – Michigan Senate approves gas tax hike for long-term road funding
November 16, 2014 – Rick Haglund: Lame duck session is perfect time for Legislature to solve road funding
December 4, 2014 – House Approves Road Funding Bill, Using Money Which Would Go To Schools, Local Governments
December 10, 2014 – Michigan road funding: Service tax option enters debate late in lame-duck
December 10, 2014 – Road funding bill headed to conference committee
December 16, 2014 – Michigan road funding talks see progress
December 17, 2014 – Michigan Road Funding Deal In Doubt With Deadline A Day Away
December 19, 2014 – Michigan Legislature puts sales tax hike on ballot

January 4, 2015 – Snyder starts second term with looming budget crunch, road funding campaign ahead
January 15, 2015 – Why Michigan’s road funding proposal may ‘be in trouble’ before the campaign really begins
January 20, 2015 – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Calls for Tax Increase for Road Repair
February 5, 2015 – Snyder campaign consultant forms opposition group to fight Michigan road funding proposal
February 5, 2015 – Fourth group forms to lobby against sales tax hike
February 21, 2015 – Federal funding of Michigan roads down 8% in 5 years
March 23, 2015 – Lawmaker Recommends Taking Money Earmarked For Accident Victims To Fix Michigan Roads
April 22, 2015 – Michigan House panel adds $20M more for roads as Proposal 1 looms over budget process
May 6, 2015 – Michigan voters made ‘road kill’ of Proposal 1, which failed in historic fashion
May 7 , 2015 – Budget cuts? Fuel taxes? Lots of ideas, looming fights over Michigan road funding Plan B
May 11, 2015 – Lawmakers eyeballing ‘restricted funds’ as next option to pay for roads
May 12, 2015 – Michigan Senate to skip summer break as lawmakers search for road funding solution
May 13, 2015 – House Republicans unveil $1B roads plan to prioritize spending, cut Earned Income Tax Credit
May 13, 2015 – Minority leader: Road funding plan relies on ‘gimmicks’
May 14, 2015 – GOP plan to fix Michigan roads depends on growing economy
May 18, 2015 – New Michigan House panel to consider ‘roads and economic development’ proposals
May 19, 2015 – Michigan’s rural roads ranked worst in country
May 20, 2015 – Gov. Snyder, state leaders approve $400 million for roads
May 26, 2015 – Michigan lawmakers fight pushback on shifting state tourism funding to roads
May 27, 2015 – Finley: New plan to fund road fixes emerges
May 28, 2015 – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder seeks road funding compromise by fall
May 29, 2015 – Congresswoman tells Michigan legislators to ‘get some balls’ on road funding
June 4, 2015 – Michigan House committee approves road funding package
June 4, 2015 – Senate meeting behind closed doors to develop roads plan
June 8, 2015 – MI Road Funding Plan Could End Earned Income Tax Credit
June 10, 2015 – House approves $1.2B road package that kills tax credit
June 11, 2015 – Michigan business leaders urge thoughtful road funding solution
June 17, 2015 – Snyder signs $54.5-billion budget that lacks road fix
June 18, 2015 – MI legislature breaks without roads deal
June 22, 2015 – ‘Nothing off the table’ as Michigan Senate seeks road funding solution this summer
July 1, 2015 – $1.5B road funding plan approved by Michigan Senate as Calley breaks tie on fuel tax hike
July 15, 2015 – House OKs ice cream month, adjourns with no road plan
August 2, 2015 – Republican inaction on road funding led to corporate income tax initiative
August 18, 2015 – New twist in road funding plan: Help Detroit collect income tax from residents working in suburbs
August 18, 2015 – Road Funding Bills Head to Conference Committee to Iron Out House, Senate Differences
August 19, 2015 – Lawmakers adjourn until Sept. without roads deal
August 24, 2015 – Michigan Fails to Fund Roads, Again
September 14, 2015 – Courser and Gamrat departure from House could have impact on road funding talks
October 13, 2015 – Road funding talks break down over income tax cut
October 14, 2015 – Road funding talks enter ‘cooling off’ phase
October 21, 2015 – Michigan House approves brand new $1.2B road funding plan in late-night session
October 27, 2015 – No deal: Road funding plan hits another snag in Michigan Senate
October 27, 2015 – Senate adjourns without consensus on a fix for roads

(Not) the end.