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Michigan Governor Wants $1.2B New Annual Revenue for Transportation Projects

CHICAGO -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder urged lawmakers to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees to generate at least $1.2 billion of new revenue annually for transportation infrastructure projects.

Snyder outlined his proposal Wednesday night during his third state of the state address.

His plan also calls for an option for local governments to boost vehicle fees to raise an additional $200 million annually for local projects.

“The toughest single issue before us is roads,” he said. “It’s time to do something. It’s time to invest.”

The governor said failing to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure system would end up costing around $25 billion by the end of the next decade.

Investing $1 billion a year would then save the state $15 billion over the next 10 years, Snyder said.

He also said the additional money would create 12,000 new jobs.

“This is not about costing us money,” he said. “This is about saving us money.”

He did not offer details and said he would work out a final plan with legislators.

It’s the second time Snyder has asked lawmakers to raise new revenue for transportation projects -- it was also a key part of the 2012 state of the state.

Last year, lawmakers considered a bill that would have replaced the state’s per-gallon gas tax with a wholesale tax and raise vehicle fees, but the legislation died. The state did divert a piece of its sales tax for transportation projects, but the effort fell short of the larger overhaul of the state’s transportation infrastructure funding formula that Snyder has supported for the last two years.

Also on the transportation side, Snyder Wednesday touted the successful deal with Canada to build a new trade bridge between the two countries. The new bridge has topped his list of priorities since he took office in January 2011.

He praised lawmakers for creating a new regional transit authority for the metro Detroit region. He called it a “huge accomplishment that was 40 years in the making,” and announced that Paul Hellegons, an executive at DTE Energy, would chair the new bond-issuing authority.

Snyder also noted that the state in 2012 brought down its unemployment loan with the federal government by issuing $3.3 billion of bonds. He praised state Treasury Andy Dillon for spearheading the deal and noted that it won the Bond Buyer’s 2012 Deal of the Year award.

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