More aggressive funding for roads needed in state

Lansing lawmakers had a prime opportunity last week to put our money where their mouth was through the passage of a supplemental spending bill that would have seen an additional $275 million appropriated for road repair. Regrettably the bill, which enjoyed a measure of bi-partisan support, failed in the state Senate on a 15-21 vote.

The funds would have been separate from a $175 million appropriation, that in fact was approved by both chambers. Those funds will come from the state General Fund, which has a surplus. The $275 million would have been drawn from the state’s so-called “rainy day” fund, which totals nearly $1 billion.

Fixing the state’s roads and bridges, many of which above and below the bridge, are badly in need of attention, would be an appropriate use of such funds. It can be argued that another, perhaps, lower, number would have drawn a warmer welcome in the upper chamber. And that might still be possible. We certainly hope decision makers in both parties fund reasonable middle ground on this issue.

We believe maintaining safe roads and bridges is central among the charges given to government. And while it’s easy to point fingers at Gov. Rick Snyder since he occupies the governor’s mansion at the present time, if truth be told, both parties shoulder blame in terms of letting the state’s roads and bridges fall into the level of disrepair that they have.

And it’s going to take cooperation from both parties to ultimately fix the problem. Regrettably, that didn’t take place last week. We hope there is still time and opportunity for that to happen.

— The Mining Journal (Marquette)