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Politics

Rural lawmakers concerned about Whitmer’s roads funding distribution proposal

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Some rural lawmakers in Lansing aren’t on board with how Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to reshape the state’s road funding methods.

Right now, money brought in for roads is divided among the state, cities, and counties. Whitmer wants to increase the fuel tax by 45-cents, and she wants that new money to be distributed based primarily on road use and for roads of economic importance.

But some people in more rural areas say that’s not fair.

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“A lot of northern, but rural Michigan is the places that drives our state tourism economy. So it’s equally as important as an economic driver in our state. Just different,” said Republican Representative Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), who represents counties in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

Cole said he’s willing to look at the details of Whitmer’s plan, but he doesn’t want rural communities to be shortchanged.

Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) also has rural areas in his district and he’s not on board with Whitmer’s plan either.

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“I want to make sure that we get our fair share too,” Schmidt said. “That there isn’t the perception that we’re a donor state or that we’re just giving to southeast Michigan and Detroit.”

Schmidt said this is just the start of the conversation and he’s willing to work with Whitmer. Whitmer says her plan is a fair, equitable way to make sure the condition of the state’s roads improve.