Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders in the Michigan Legislature announced today in a joint statement that they came to an agreement over the weekend to finish and pass a budget for the 2020 fiscal year. It won’t include any additional funding for infrastructure and road repairs.
The compromise will avert a government shutdown, which would have been the first in Michigan since 2009.
Whitmer had previously said that she’d veto any budget that didn’t include $2 billion in extra spending for roads. The governor had proposed a 45 cent gas hike to pay for the repairs and campaigned on a promise to “fix the damn roads.”
“We have all agreed to continue conversations about road funding in a meaningful way and table all associated issues for the time being. Right now, our number one priority is getting a budget passed,” said Whitmer, along with Republicans Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield, in a joint statement.
Republicans have not made a public counter-proposal so far. Though Crain’s Detroit Business did obtain an outline of a Republican plan that would cut $400 million in spending elsewhere.
Fixing the roads is a major priority in the state because not doing so is almost certainly more expensive. A March report by the transportation research group TRIP found that poor road conditions cost drivers an estimated $14 billion annually. Another report from Lvl5 in January rated Michigan’s roads as the worst in the nation