Lawmakers and lobbyists call for gas tax hike

LANSING, MI – Conservative business groups are putting pressure on Republican lawmakers to fund repairs to the state's aging bridges and roads through a gas tax increase.

The proposed tax hike would be spread out over five years and could generate as much as $1.8 billion in revenue. The conservative groups who support the proposal say they understand GOP leaders shy away from any form of tax hike. But, they say, Republicans have had a history of supporting gas tax hikes as user fees.

Former state Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema.

"It's not like you do this every year," he said. "It's not like you want to do this or you necessarily like doing this. You do it when the need is well documented that you have to do it for the future of the state."

Sikkema also points out President Ronald Reagan passed a federal gas tax hike during a recession in 1983.

Lawmakers who support the tax hope to get it approved before the end of the year.