LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - Road repair in Michigan state is always a hot topic this time of year -- and this time, there is added emphasis from the Governor's Office. But so far, no one is doing much about it.
The budget process is moving along, but it is doing so without the Gov. Rick Snyder's plan for extra road funding. His plan was to spend $1.2 billion each year for the next decade to get Michigan roads back in good condition.
Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland), chair of the Appropriations Committee, didn't include the governor's plan in the House's just-passed budget proposal. But he said he is in favor of doing something.
"I hope we can get there. I hope we can see some resolution that all three of us agree with that moves forward with road funding and road improvements," Haveman said.
And in that sentiment he is not alone.
Democrats say they want the roads fixed, too. But behind the scenes, there is not enough agreement on who will pay and how to move the matter forward.
"I think there's some work on the Republican side to try to figure out a funding mechanism to come up with that," said Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids). "I know my colleagues and I on the Democratic side are eager to be part of that discussion. We're concerned the increases may fall disproportionately on the middle class and those that have already been hit by increased taxes by Republicans."
The sticking point may be that neither party wants to be the one to raise taxes for almost anything.
At one point, it looked as if the legislature may put an issue on the ballot to let voters decide whether to raise sales tax, vehicle registration fees or maybe even the gas tax.
But that takes a super majority vote, which means bipartisan support would be needed at least in the House. That is not happening now, but the ever-optimistic Snyder is still hopeful.
"I still think there's an opportunity for that," Snyder said. "Again, when you look at these kinds of situation, a lot of people are talking about the need to fix our roads. That's a lot different than saying our roads don't need to be fixed. Now that we're agreeing we need to fix our roads, let's come up with a solution and get it done."
But it's not yet clear what, if anything, will happen to the governor's plan. Until Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement, it may be difficult to get the issue on the ballot. And if Republicans decide to go it alone, they may also have a rough road before them.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow is making roads "treacherous" and are urging people to stay home if possible.