In Michigan
6:17 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

MI Chamber of Commerce lays out legislative wish list

LANSING, MI –

Business advocates want state lawmakers to approve adequate funding to maintain Michigan's aging bridges and roads. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce says transportation funding will be a big issue for them in 2012.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce president Richard Studley says the state's roads are crumbling and rougher than the roads in neighboring states. He says that does not make Michigan look good when people travel here. Studley says lawmakers need to find efficiencies within the transportation system to help shift more money to road and bridge construction.

"We've got to squeeze more money out of the system, but in the end you can't get there with just efficiencies and reforms. We have to double our state's investment over the next few years."

Studley says that means increasing user fees for drivers; such as through gas taxes or registration fees.

Lawmakers estimate the state needs to spend between $1-2 billion more just to maintain the state's roads, but many are hesitant to approve any tax or fee hikes.