Snyder calls road fund plan constructive

LANSING (AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder praised Republican House leaders’ plan to spend $500 million annually on roads as a proactive move toward long-term funding changes, but said it falls short of his spending target.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Republican governor called the proposal “a very constructive step” that incorporates some of his recommendations but requires further discussion. A structural funding change to improve road maintenance could save lives and money, he said.

“I’d still like to get to $1.2 billion of additional revenue, so we do have a difference there. But I would not criticize the plan, so let’s talk about it,” Snyder said in the telephone interview from Dusseldorf, Germany, where he was leading a weeklong European trade trip.

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger announced on Thursday a roads funding plan of at least $450 million in fiscal 2015 and at least $500 million annually by fiscal 2018. The legislation would require warranties on road work to avoid short-term fixes and would change various streams of tax revenue.

Bolger agreed with Snyder that Michigan roads actually need $1.2 billion annually, but said the proposed changes are better than one-time funding allocations the Legislature has made in recent years.