Sen. Theis: Legislation would restrict state bonding for roads
LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Lana Theis announced on Tuesday she co-sponsored legislation that would limit the ability of the State Transportation Commission (STC) to purchase bonds to fix and maintain the state’s crumbling roads and bridges without additional oversight from the Legislature.
The legislation comes in response to action being considered by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to take on the additional long-term debt to provide for a short-term road funding infusion.
“Taxpayers are still paying off road bonding debt from governors Granholm and Engler,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “The last thing our state needs to fix our roads is more long-term debt as history proves bonding is a terrible strategy.”
Senate Bill 716 would require the STC to notify the Legislature 30 days prior to issuing any transportation bonds in excess of $100 million and would give the Legislature the authority to reject the issuance of those bonds within 30 days.
“State government is receiving more for transportation funding than ever,” Theis said. “Before the governor goes demanding more from taxpayers, we need to make sure the state is using the funding it already has and that it is doing so wisely.”
Theis added that road funding reforms enacted in 2015 will not be fully implemented until Oct. 1, at which time an additional $1.2 billion is expected to have been available for transportation needs since 2017.
“We should exhaust every viable option to fix the state’s roads problems before taking on more long-term debt or considering raising people’s taxes,” Theis said.
SB 716, which was introduced on Tuesday, has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.