Senate approves road bonding reforms

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas’ resolution calling for fiscal responsibility in the state budget regarding transportation bonding and the amount of debt passed down to future generations.

“The Michigan Constitution clearly intends for the Legislature — the voice of the people — to be involved in transportation bonding decisions,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Michigan families need an affordable solution that fixes the roads and doesn’t saddle them with decades of debt. This resolution would clearly define the Legislature’s intent for road bonding and outline how much we’re willing to spend on debt payments.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 22 says that the Legislature’s intent is not to increase future debt service spending above the levels authorized in fiscal year 2020 and not to authorize spending for debt service on bonds longer than 10 years.

“Last year, the governor proposed a massive $2.5 billion tax increase that would have made our gas tax the highest in the nation — and it was overwhelmingly opposed by the Michigan people,” Stamas said. “This year, just four months after she vetoed a $400 million increase to fix local roads, the governor rushed a $3.5 billion road bonding scheme — which will cost taxpayers over $5 billion to pay off.

“Bonding is a financing tool that creates debt. It’s not a long-term funding plan to fix the roads.”

Stamas also supported Senate Bill 716, sponsored by Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, which would require the State Transportation Commission to notify the Legislature of its intent to issue over $100 million in transportation bonds at least 30 days before authorizing the bonds. The bill would then give the Legislature the ability to reject those bonds within 30 days.

SB 716 would allow the commission to issue up to $100 million in transportation bonds using the current process in order to protect the state’s ability to respond quickly to an infrastructure emergency.

“We need the governor to come to the table and work with the Legislature on a responsible plan that improves all the roads in our state. In the meantime, we need to stand up for Michigan taxpayers against the unchecked addition of more state debt,” Stamas said.

SCR 22 and SB 716 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.