Richardville introduces legislation to make more dollars available for roads and bridges
LANSING – Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, introduced legislation today that will make more dollars available for roads and bridges in Michigan.
Senate Bill 670 would change the Michigan Transportation Fund into a “trust fund” to allow the state to receive higher interest earnings from the funds.
“Michigan could earn an additional $10 million a year by changing the transportation fund to a trust fund,” said Richardville. “Under this legislation, the earnings could not be used for departmental administrative purposes. Any income or profit earned would go directly to road and bridge projects.”
The bill, which was based on a recommendation from the governor’s Transportation Task Force, has been sent to the Senate Transportation Committee.
Earlier in June, Richardville supported another task force recommendation by voting for a provision in the Michigan Department of Transportation budget that would require the department to conduct a statewide study that could lead to changes in the county road funding formula.
Richardville today expressed disappointment with the state House for approving the budget without the provision and said the lack of support could prevent Monroe County from getting an additional $2 million or more.
“The current road formula puts counties like Monroe County at a disadvantage because they have become more urbanized since the formula was first used,” Richardville said. “By changing the formula to vehicle miles traveled rather than route miles, Monroe County would have more money available to fix roads and bridges that are in disrepair.”
The study would include a comparison of vehicle miles traveled to route miles, an evaluation of other states, and an assessment of best practices.
Funds are currently distributed to Michigan’s 83 counties, in part, using route miles as opposed to annual vehicle miles traveled. Monroe County receives the least amount of these dollars in the state. By changing the formula to annual vehicle miles traveled, one possible alternative to the current method, Monroe County’s funding could increase by more than $2.2 million (20.6 percent), the third highest percentage increase in Michigan.
“The governor’s Transportation Task Force recommended the change from route miles to vehicle miles traveled, but concluded that more accurate data was needed,” said Richardville. “The study could provide the necessary data as lawmakers seek better alternatives for allocating county road funding. I am disappointed that state House members did not recognize the importance of the study to Monroe County.”
Posted: Friday, June 26, 2009
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