Republicans are always looking for ways to cut the tax burden because as they say they want “to make sure you keep more of your money”. So when presented with the opportunity to save Michigan families an average of $1,000 per year, you would think Michigan Republicans would be falling all over themselves to make this happen. Unfortunately that is not the case.
According to the Michigan Section of the American Society for Civil Engineers, the current condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges costs the average family over $1,000 per year. This is a direct result of the damage incurred by residents and companies who use these roads and bridges.
Reports show that the overall condition of Michigan’s bridges ranks it as the 13th worst state in the nation with 13.1% of bridges being “structurally deficient” and a full 76 bridges closed due to lack of funds to fix them. Michigan also ranks 29th in urban interstate pavement condition and 43rd in rural pavement condition.
And while the governor has given a lot of lip service to creating an environment where companies can flourish the Republican controlled legislature has balked at any increase in spending to this point. But if these legislators did a little research they would find that good roads and bridges are one the biggest things states can do to attract business. Even the Republican bastion of tax policy, Texas, is considering raising taxes to pay for better roads that the state’s business community is demanding.
Of course the concern from Republicans is that fixing roads costs money. However outside of the $1,000 each Michigan family will save each year investing in infrastructure also creates construction jobs as well as supply chain jobs that Michigan could desperately use.
The reality is that if we expect to move Michigan to the top of the pack for job creation we have to make sure that the roads and bridges are able to move people to and from work, transport products from companies to market, and get consumers to the products and services they need. Insisting that the money isn’t available when the business case shows improving roads and bridges offers a better return on your investment than other government “solutions”, is an embarrassing example of officials cutting off their nose to spite their face.