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Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

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MWmetalhead
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Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by MWmetalhead » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:19 am

The road funding legislation that passed both houses in Lansing earlier this week is certainly better than nothing and not as distasteful (at least in my eyes) as Proposal 1.

That being said - the morons in Lansing (especially on the house side and in the Governor's office) made this exercise far more difficult than it needed to be.

Last session, the Michigan Senate had a perfectly sensible proposal: raise the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon. Unfortunately, the Jase Bolger-led House insisted on an absolutely ridiculously bill that would have left serious doubts as to the ability to raise more than few hundred million dollars in road funding on a recurring basis.

The stupidity even pre-dates THAT, though. The stupidity began when the GOP slashed corporate taxes without doing *anything* to triage harmful budgetary effects from redemption of corporate tax credits.

Since the vast majority of the corporate tax credits were issued under purview of the Michigan Business Tax - not the new Michigan Corporate Income Tax - why on earth weren't reasonable limits set on the redemption of those credits?!!! I guess that would've required more work than the politicians who get paid with *our* tax dollars are willing to expend.

Here are several good articles on the matter:
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20 ... m-granholm
http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf ... und_1.html
http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/rod- ... e/31220228
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/p ... /23614611/
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/m ... /23623329/

Had the corporate tax credit redemption matter been mitigated, certainly finding a funding solution to roads would've been easier. To mitigate the effects of a 15 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, perhaps the EITC or personal income tax exemption limits could've been increased.

Anyway, as Nolan saliently states in his column this morning, the thought process behind the specific provisions that found their way into the final legislation is odd, to say the least:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinio ... /75373330/

I personally think the main motivation behind backloading such a high proportion of the funding sources is to play out a fly ball that auto insurance reform can be enacted within the next 12 months.

That way, politicians can say to voters - "yeah, we raised your gas taxes and vehicle registration fees - which costs the average household about $100 per year - but we reduced your insurance bill by $200." (I'm using those numbers strictly for illustrative purposes.) Given the legislature's history of dysfunction and catering to special interest groups, I'll be pleasantly shocked if auto insurance reform ever happens!

Of course, the about-to-be-enacted legislation already includes relief to low and middle income taxpayers in the form of an expanded homestead credit, starting in 2018.

I still think more money needs to be poured into roads, and this idiotic "supply-and-demand" argument I'm reading from certain legislators is nothing more than a strawman. Just because we spend more on roads does NOT mean prices for materials, labor, etc. will spike. We are currently spending less on a per capita basis than any other state in the union!!! And in 2021, we'll likely *still* be spending less than the national average (even though the climate here is much tougher on roads than many parts of the country).


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Bryce » Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:06 am

Nolan is correct. It would have been much better, easier and quicker to do with a straight gas tax. Boom done, problem solved.

I might also suggest that a miles driven solution placed upon hybrid and electric vehicles be added. Currently, there are most likely so few on the road that it went make much of a difference but that may change in the future as oil prices rise again.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by audiophile » Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:12 am

They should just double registration fees for plug-in vehicles. Hybrids that are non-plug-in shouldn't have to pay more because they still get all of there energy from taxed fuel.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Deleted User 8570 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:30 am

Why not do what most states do and simply take out a large loan?



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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Bryce » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:28 am

NS8401 wrote:Why not do what most states do and simply take out a large loan?
I believe that the balanced budget provision in our state constitution would quash that idea. Damn good thing too.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by audiophile » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:06 am

NS8401 wrote:Why not do what most states do and simply take out a large loan?
Are you related to TC T? :blink


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Deleted User 8570 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:18 pm

audiophile wrote:
NS8401 wrote:Why not do what most states do and simply take out a large loan?
Are you related to TC T? :blink
Well sell bonds really and then they get paid back... Lots of northern states with good roads do that...

Not sure if I am or not.. :eek



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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by TheForce » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:46 pm

It really irritated me that these road funding packages didn't consider lowering the state's weight limit for trucks. We are more than double of what is nationally.



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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by audiophile » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:50 pm

TheForce wrote:It really irritated me that these road funding packages didn't consider lowering the state's weight limit for trucks. We are more than double of what is nationally.
It's not double...

more like 25%, but it requires more axles.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Deleted User 8570 » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:01 pm

audiophile wrote:
TheForce wrote:It really irritated me that these road funding packages didn't consider lowering the state's weight limit for trucks. We are more than double of what is nationally.
It's not double...

more like 25%, but it requires more axles.
It still contributes significantly to road damage...



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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:07 am

In a state where the roads are as brittle (and as poorly constructed) as Michigan's, the weight limits should be LESS than the national average, regardless of the number of axles.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by audiophile » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:55 am

I guess you would rather have the rest of our manufacturing move to the south by lowering the limit below other states?

The weight per axle is the main factor in determining road damage. I agree heavier loaded should obey a lower speed limit due to increased stopping distances in inclement weather, and higher permit fees.

The main problem in Michigan is lots of moisture plus the number of freezing/thawing cycles per year. Tar based roads can't handle the expansion of freezing we should only be using concrete on class C roads, or every tar based road should be re-sealed every fall to keep water out.

Salting the roads instead of scraping makes it worse too, as that adds more melting/freezing cycles that finds it way into cracks.. Detroit metro doesn't know anything but salt...and you wonder why your roads are bad.

Also cold patch is not a permanent fix! I have seen roads in Canada hat look like a patchwork quilt but were very smooth - that's not cold patch!
Last edited by audiophile on Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by Deleted User 8570 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:08 am

audiophile wrote:I guess you would rather have the rest of our manufacturing move to the south by lowering the limit below other states?

The weight per axle is the main factor in determining road damage. I agree heavier loaded should obey a lower speed limit due to increased stopping distances in inclement weather, and higher permit fees.

The main problem in Michigan is lots of moisture plus the number of freezing/thawing cycles per year. Tar based roads can't handle the expansion of freezing we should only be using concrete on class C roads, or every tar based road should be re-sealed every fall to keep water out.

Salting the roads instead of scraping makes it worse too, as that adds more melting/freezing cycles. Detroit metro doesn't know anything but salt.

Also cold patch is not a permanent fix! I have seen roads in Canada hat look like a patchwork quilt but were very smooth - that's not cold patch!
How do you explain the states with lower weight limits and similar climates that are doing better with manufacturing anyways? Their weight limits aren't causing manufacturers to run for the exits...



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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by audiophile » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:15 am

Give me an example?

If you made lower than neighboring states I can guarantee that you will see an exit of manufacturing over the long term. Make it the same probably not...


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Re: Good column from Nolan Finley re: road funding

Post by TheForce » Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:14 pm

"Some say Michigan’s 164,000-pound gross weight limit — which is more than double the federal standard of 80,000 pounds — is causing unnecessary damage to Michigan roads."

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index ... educe.html



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