Politics & Prejudices
Will it work?
One thing is certain: Detroit cannot fix Detroit
Published: April 11, 2012
The new commercial, which is running statewide, claims the increase in the gas tax and vehicle registration fees the governor wants isn't really designed to fix our state's crumbling roads and bridges. It says that "Snyder really wants to bypass the Legislature and spend $2 billion on a new bridge they've already rejected."
Well, Snyder probably is going to bypass the Legislature to build the bridge, though he didn't want to. But apart from that, that one statement contains almost more lies than words. The Legislature has never rejected the bridge. They've never even voted on it, because the lawmakers that the Morouns have bought off with big contributions have kept it from a vote. Nor does the governor want to secretly spend $2 billion or $2 million or even one cent on the bridge.
That's because Canada is going to pay the state's share. In fact, Michigan stands to get more than $2 billion in federal highway money if we build a new bridge. These facts are well-known.
But Sauron — oops — Moroun is desperate to stop any competition, by any means necessary, as he has shown time and time again. The real danger in this commercial has nothing to do with the bridge.
It has to do with our roads, which are falling apart, as any fool who ever leaves his house knows. Michigan needs the $1.4 billion a year these taxes and fees will generate to prevent the roads completely crumbling, and completely ruining our ability to get jobs.
The last thing we need is for the Legislature to refuse to pass the bills needed to fix the roads, because they think the money is going to be used for a new bridge instead. Denying the new bridge will hurt Michigan's economy badly in the long run.
But not fixing the roads will turn us into Haiti before we can even start to turn our economy around. Perhaps you could make the case that an aging greedy billionaire should be allowed to ruin our economy to make his family even richer. But I can't imagine how.
Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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