CHICAGO — Michigan lawmakers passed a $330 million mid-year 2014 budget supplemental bill last week that features more road money for local governments hit hard by the harsh winter.
The bill includes $215 million for priority road projects and maintenance. Of that, $100 million will go toward treating potholes and other winter-related problems.
The money is part of a ongoing debate between lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder over road funding. Snyder has pushed for two years for the Legislature to raise new revenues to generate at least $1 billion a year, which he says is needed to maintain the state's roads.
Lawmakers have so far been reluctant to raise any taxes or fees, but they have passed one-time appropriations.
"While this funding will be of great benefit in the short term, Michigan still very much needs a comprehensive long-term solution to fix our state's aging roads and bridges," Snyder said in a statement March 12. "This remains a priority and I am confident that we can work together on a solution."
The budget bill also includes $76 million in funding for the Department of Community Health for mental health services. The money helps cover a shortfall tied to Medicaid, as the health department's expectation that federal dollars would cover some of its costs fell through when state lawmakers delayed implementation of the Medicaid plan from January until April.
Snyder unveiled his executive spending plan in February. Lawmakers are expected to work on a budget throughout the spring and pass it by June. Michigan's fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the budget bill into law March 14 as Snyder was out of state.