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Road commissioners say 2017 gas tax is helping current road projects

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With debate over a new gas tax increase in Michigan, some drivers may have forgotten the last increase that took effect about two years ago. 

In 2017, the state gas tax increased for the first time in 20 years, from 19 cents to 26.3 cents.

 

Under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed road funding plan gas prices would increase by 45 cents per gallon. 

Republican state lawmakers have said they are looking for “any option” to pay for road funding that won’t increase what people pay at the pump. 

Emmet County road commissioner, Brian Gutowski said the 2017 increase has helped fund this year’s 35 construction projects.

“These aren’t permanent fixes,” Gutowski said. “These are just putting a new surface on so we can buy about 5 to 10 years in order for us to really start accumulating some money and get some reconstruction funds on those roads.”

Gutowski said they are on track to do work on about 40 miles of their primary roads in Emmet County. While Gutowski wouldn’t say if he supported the Governor’s specific plan he did say another gas tax increase would allow his county to put millions of dollars into their road system.

Alpena road commissioner, Larry Orcutt, agrees. He said the 2017 gas tax increase has been helpful, but it’s “nowhere near enough” for a system wide improvement program. 

Orcutt said with the additional 30 to 40 percent increase in funding from the gas tax increase in 2017, they have applied new pavement at a pace of one mile a year.