During businessman's Rick Snyder's eight year tenure as Michigan's governor, the public's perception of the roads in Michigan were bad, and those perceptions seemed to be right, as of the 50 states Michigan roads were dead last in a scientific study conducted towards the end of his last term. The bridges that support those roads aren't much better, Michigan ranking 41st in bridge conditions.
Both party candidates that ran for the governor spot in 2018 addressed the topic of the poor repair of Michigan roads, with Republican Bill Schuette failing to get much traction on his lane, but Democrat Gretchen Whitmer spun out with a catchphrase that echoed the thoughts of millions of Michiganders: "Fix the Damn Roads". She coasted across the finish line and became Michigan's next governor in 2019.
During the campaign she had a nine page plan describing how she would rebuild Michigan. Her plan for roads were generalized to the point of meaninglessness, there was no point where she said she would increase funding and never in the nine pages was the word 'taxes' used. Apparently, making sure every dollar assigned for fixing roads were used for that purpose and relying on a state bank would be enough:
The plan's specifics came to be known shortly into her term when she proposed a 45 cent increase of the gas tax, that was met with opposition from both parties and the public. The raise would put Michigan squarely at the top of highest gas taxes by state, nearly 14 cents more than current leader Pennsylvania charges. Such a raise would not only hit her core supporters hard in their pocketbooks, but would also make companies whose businesses require a lot of transportation expenses to reconsider locating in Michigan. Despite her pleas, it was pretty much a DOA idea.
Governor Gretchen has recently proven that her rhetoric on fixing the damn roads was nothing more than a prequel to raising taxes rather than accomplishing that goal by line-item vetoing a $375 million addition to the state transportation budget, which is the funding source of fixing the roads. By her veto pen, she converted what would have been a $338 million net funding increase into a $36.9 million cut to the transportation budget.
The budget created by a Republican-led state legislature would have raised state transportation spending to $3.978 billion, a 9.2% increase with no tax hike. Instead of raising taxes, these lawmakers targeted money from the state General Fund to road repairs. As a result, the state will spend only $3.603 billion on transportation in the fiscal year that began Tuesday, a $36.9 million decline from the $3.640 billion appropriated for the just-ended 2018-19 fiscal year.
During Governor Rick's two terms, state transportation spending decreased from the previous year only once, in 2015. Governor Gretchen's first budget will also decrease road spending, and it's all because she personally vetoed increases in road spending without declaring why she didn't want to fix the damn roads.
Typical rank and file politician, lie to get elected, and try to raise huge sums of taxes to achieve little if nothing.
What she is proposing is to continue doing business as usual. That's what got us into this mess. Raising the tax on gas and then spending it on everything but the roads. She also installed Gay Pride flags on a State building. The Gay Pride flag represents a private political organization and as such cannot fly it's symbol on publicly owned property.
Michigan will never have good roads as Indiana has cornered the market on orange barrels. On a trip through Indiana this week I don't think there was a mile without orange barrels on and on the side of the road on interstate 65
On trips to Indiana over the last few years I actually missed Michigan roads, the roads I mostly traveled on in Indiana were horrid. I will concede that on those trips I did see my share of construction as well, although it tended to just be on the freeways which were only part of the roads I traveled on said trips.
I can gleefully say I didn't vote for her. Not that either party candidate was overly attractive but most people could sense that one way or another that there was going to be at least some tax increases. The roads obviously are not the only thing hit, the Pure Michigan tourism advertising was cut as was money that will likely effect law enforcement and could make them cut the number of road patrols they have out there.