89.1 WEMU

Whitmer Says Michigan Legislature Should Return To Work On Roads

Aug 13, 2019

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer watches as road expert explains damage to bridge infrastructure.
Credit Rick Pluta / MPRN

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has again called on Republican leaders to reconvene the Legislature to wrap up work on a new state budget and a plan to fix the roads.

But GOP leaders say there’s no reason yet. 

Whitmer is visiting roads and bridges around Michigan to show their decrepit state and the urgent need to fix them.

She stopped Tuesday at a Lansing overpass, where a Michigan Department of Transportation expert handed her a hammer.  She tapped to hear the difference between a solid thunk that indicates the safe parts of the structure and the hollow sound that indicates it’s crumbling. 

She said bridges are deteriorating faster than state and local road crews can fix them.

“It’s time for us to get a real plan together,” she said, “and get it passed and get it to my desk.”

But the Legislature’s Republican leaders are not on board with Whitmer’s plan to increase fuel taxes.  They say they’ll call the Legislature back when they’re close to something worth voting on.

Whitmer says then Republicans should share an alternative proposal to get the negotiations moving.

Neither Whitmer nor GOP leaders have ruled out a continuation budget if they don’t have a roads deal nailed down by the time the state’s new fiscal year begins October 1.  Local governments are also waiting on the state so they can finalize their budgets and their own road-and-bridge repair plans.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org