A2 Journal Letter to the editor: Why should local taxpayers fund roads in other states?

Andrew McCune of Saline sent in this great letter to the editor that was published in the A2Jounral. Do you think Andrew's solution is feasible? What else can Michigan residents do to get back more of the money we pay at the pump?

As our roads and bridges continue to deteriorate and thousands of Michigan residents remain unemployed, a developing scenario would use Michigan tax dollars to fund road and bridge construction in other states.

Our elected representatives in Lansing have the opportunity to avoid this scenario; however, lack of leadership, political posturing and inaction by our legislature is going to result in our federal gas tax dollars going to other states for their road construction.

The federal surface transportation act known as SAFETEA-LU (Safe Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users) requires that states provide a 20 percent match on all federally funded projects. In the next fiscal year, Michigan will not have adequate revenue to provide the match.

As the budget currently stands, Michigan will fall $84 million short of our required matching funds, resulting in $475 million sent back to Washington for redistribution to other states. This number climbs to $2 billion over the next four years. These dollars that Michigan will be sending back to Washington are generated through the federal gas tax that Michigan residents pay each time they fill their gas tanks.

It's a well-known fact that quality transportation system is a key factor in attracting and maintaining business in any state. Businesses do not want to locate in a state that has failing infrastructure and no funding to maintain roads. If we fail to adequately fund our road and bridge projects in Michigan, it will become all the more difficult to attract business to Michigan.

In addition, transportation supports thousands of jobs within Michigan. Without a small revenue increase, more than 17,000 jobs are projected to be lost. Lack of adequate road funding will further Michigan's economic crisis. An increase in transportation funding is supported by not only the transportation industry, but also the American Manufacturing Association, the trucking industry and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Solutions have been introduced in both the Michigan Senate and House in the form of two bills -- SB862 and HB5768-5770. Each of these bills calls for increasing the state gasoline tax by 4 cents a gallon in 2010 and again in 2013, the first increase since 1997. The average motorist would pay an additional 50 cents per week under these bills.

Although introduced, legislation sits stalled in both the Senate and the House. Leadership in Michigan's Senate and House of Representatives doesn't want to take on a revenue increase during an election year. So while the politicians continue to posture and position for their jobs in our government, Michigan taxpayers will be funding transportation projects in other states. This should be unimaginable and unacceptable to every Michigan resident.

The answer is simple: Generate enough revenue to capture our fair share of the federal funds to fix Michigan's deteriorating infrastructure.

Andrew McCune