The Big Story: New Options to 'fix the damn roads!'

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 22:23:00-05

(WXYZ) — As we watch Governor Gretchen Whitmer give her second State of the State speech tonight, most of us will be watching to see how she wants to fix the damn roads, her campaign slogan. Her plan last year for a 45 cent a gallon gas tax failed in the Republican-controlled legislature last year.

Two options other than new taxes on her radar are toll roads and bonds that she could use and bypass politics and the legislature.

The state Senate has passed a plan to study toll roads that would look at:

Which roads and locations
Toll amounts
Revenue raised
How many out of state drivers would pay
Even some reduced tolls for local drivers

Maggie Perry used to live in Massachusetts and tells 7 Action News, “They do have toll roads on the Mass Pike the major highway. And I think given the state of roads in Michigan it would be a good idea to help fund that issue.”

Zack Coyne lives in Livonia but drives all over Michigan in his job. He also likes the idea of toll roads saying, “We have the opportunity to pay more taxes, but I don’t really think it goes to that in particular. I think that toll roads would be something that is definite to the roads.”\

Fixing the roads will cost billions. Another option the Governor has is issuing bonds through the State Transportation Commission, up to $3 Billion. But many say that’s just kicking the can down the road. Others say the entire roads system needs an overhaul including Juanita Wenzel of Detroit, “People that live here they don’t really have an opportunity to say where that money is used.”

So many of us living with potholes with more to come this spring costing us out of pocket right now. Michael Chatman of Southfield says, “I just got a flat tire. That’s another hundred dollars for a tire I gotta pay.”

We all agree we need to fix the roads, but how is a work in progress. Maybe we’ll get a fresh start tonight?