LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Months of talks over a $1.2 billion plan to improve Michigan roads plan broke down Tuesday, with Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders declaring an impasse.
Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter said a key sticking point in negotiations was linking a road proposal to a broader tax cut. The GOP governor declined to specify why a deal remained elusive but said “it’s fair to say people have different perspectives on what tax relief might look like.”
Snyder, who has long pushed for increased fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees to boost stagnant state transportation spending, told reporters after a private meeting with House and Senate leaders that he would schedule no further talks “unless I see progress.”
“I tried to remind people when you do compromise, hopefully there’s a lot of things you like. But obviously when you have the differences in political perspectives, you’re going to have some parts of the package you probably don’t like very much,” he said. “Part of it’s saying this is a win for all of us so let’s move forward.”
House Republicans in June passed a plan that would largely cut or shift spending. In July, Senate Republicans voted to increase both the 19-cents-a-gallon state gasoline tax and 15-cent diesel tax to 34 cents and dedicate income tax revenue to roads while also triggering income tax cuts if revenues rise by more than inflation.
Snyder and legislative leaders recently discussed an unspecified $800 million increase in fuel taxes and vehicle fees and a shift of $400 million from other spending.
“A lot of progress has been made, but there’s still some outstanding, very thorny issues that are difficult to resolve,” said Democratic House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, who also refused to elaborate on closed-door discussions.
Voters in May soundly defeated a sales tax increase - backed by Snyder and proposed by the Republican-led Legislature - that would have triggered more money for roads, education and municipalities.
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