Michigan Gas Tax Hike Could Provide Some Relief for Detroit Transit Riders

Michigan state senators voted last week to approve a gas tax hike expected to net more than $1 billion annually to fix the state’s notoriously potholed roads, reports the Free Press. The measure, if it passes the House intact, could also be good news for Detroit’s woefully inadequate transit system.

A provision of the bill would allow Detroit to spend 20 percent of its portion of the proceeds on transit. Detroit has been funding transit only through its general fund — with no dedicated revenue stream — and it has arguably the worst transit system of any major city in the nation. With the city in bankruptcy, general fund revenues for transit have been in short supply. Riders report two-and-a-half-hour one-way commutes, or buses that never show, making it nearly impossible to hold down a job without a car.

Although the region is in the process of merging Detroit’s transit system with SMART, the suburban transit provider, establishing a seamless system has been fraught with political challenges. Regional planners, for instance, recently shifted millions of dollars in transit funding from Detroit to the suburbs. A new funding source would be huge.

Under the plan approved by the State Senate, Michigan’s gas tax would incrementally rise 17 cents per gallon over the next few years. Raising the tax to fix the state’s roads has been a top priority of Governor Rick Snyder, and Republican lawmakers apparently felt comfortable advancing it following the election.

  • Isabelle Terry

    The last thing Michigan needs is more taxes. But watch. This is just the beginning. IMHO Detroit is the central planners’ wet dream. A failed city that elitists can build from scratch. Politicians and the politically connected are planning to make it this wonderful liberal utopia (farmer’s markets, cafe’s, public transportation, sustainable, walkable, etc. etc) … with taxpayer dollars. Privatized profits. Socialized losses. They’ve shielded the city’s assets with the scam that is the Grand Bargain. And they’ll divert, steal and deal to get every tax dollar to make it so. We need to close the MEDC, the MSF, the 21st Century Jobs fund, rein in DDA’s and Brownfield Development boondoggles. Look at HB 4481 and HB 4482. “subsides, loans and tax breaks granted at the discretion of political appointees on the MSF Board.” Government picking winners and losers. The connected win. So so so immoral.

  • Isabelle Terry
  • Isabelle Terry
  • GJalt

    Markets have decided in favor of low-density suburban development and private transportation, i.e., cars. The future is more of this. The only exceptions will be where the marxist statists use either force or the threat of force to rob the producers and give to the moochers and looters who want to live in their Euro-socialist-inspired paradise of urbanist hipsterism on the dime of the hard-working suburban and rural American whom they rob via confiscatory taxation.

    Let Detroit die. There’s no need for cities like this in 21st century America. We have our clean, safe, self-sufficient suburbs and cars. Once self-driving cars are introduced, it will be the final death of cities and dense development (thankfully). Cities cause an increase in dependency on government and erode the rugged individualism that makes American exceptional and great. We, the real Americans, need to fight the central planners who want to empty our pocketbooks to pay for their wasteful urban boondoggles.

  • One is presuming the “market” that decided was a “free” or balanced one. This presumption is, at best, a risky one.

    “Self-sufficient suburbs” is an oxymoron in so many ways. And safer suburbs? In the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps. Change is now; things that seem to be solid are not.

    As for self-sufficient cars — and the lucrative subsidies supporting their roadways — it really is to laugh. The Interstate Highway System is one of the most successful social(ist?) programs the federal government ever attempted. Is it bad or good? One can debate. But it sure wasn’t, and isn’t, the “free market” at work.

  • Sovereign Mary

    What else will go up in cost in Michigan if an increased gas tax is passed (heaven forbid) … the cost of consumer goods .. i.e., groceries, clothing and all commodities that the consumer need to purchases.

  • Michael Klatsky

    This is hilarious – the suburbs are supported by businesses paying taxes in the city lol.

  • purplewings

    Depending on the cost when they add that extra tax, it may not be excessive. Right now where I live gasoline is under $3 a gallon. Last week I got mine for $2.69….so if they want to add 17 cents to that, I’m good with it. It’s already been higher than that. If they take the highest it’s been and add another 17 cents then I’ll be a little bummed. People need reliable transportation. I can’t think of a better way to spend that money. When I was young I moved to Detroit for work, sometimes working three jobs a day in different areas. Without a reliable bus service, I could not have done that. I wish they could slow down the cost of groceries. I shop about 3 times a week and the prices go up as much as $2.00 on some single items every couple of weeks. Our economy is lousy and it makes me ill to hear Obama and some Media telling us how wonderful everything is now. It isn’t!

  • momoneyhohuny

    “Cities cause an increase in dependency on government and erode the rugged individualism that makes American exceptional and great”

    You’ve got to be kidding. Where would America be without NYC?! Or Chicago?!

  • Carson Lauffer

    When a Transit system was first developed in NYC it made money. Why, you may ask. Simple, it was developed through free enterprise. If there is money to be made let free enterprise do it.

  • jarendt

    So many sales taxes, property taxes, and even income taxes go toward supporting the automobile that it’s laughable to talk about the free market enabling transit without also talking about removing taxpayer subsidies for all other modes.

  • Carson Lauffer

    It might work better that way.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Beware the man who has read only one book.

    That used to apply best to Biblous nut jobs. Then to Communists who had read Karl Marx. Now it means cult members who read Ayn Rand. Like John Galt here. LOL.

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