Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Detroit News Calls for Big Transportation Changes

15. November 2004 • Murph
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An editorial in the Detroit News, Transportation Roadblock: Southeast Michigan faces a $30-billion detour of needed improvements over next 25 years, issues a call for serious changes in transportation funding. Unfortunately, their largest demand requires federal-level action,

Getting more transportation money for southeast Michigan doesn’t have to mean new taxes. Tens of millions of Michigan’s federal gas tax dollars go to other states. The state’s representatives in Congress ought to push for a fairer return of the federal gas taxes drivers here already pay. Michigan now gets a 90.5-percent return. On mass transit, the state really gets robbed, with 43 cents on the dollar coming home, thanks to a federal funding formula that heavily favors states with large rail systems.

Federal mass transit funding provides a very large portion of capital investment, but a lower portion of operating costs. Rail has a much higher ratio of capital to operating costs than bus, meaning a larger portion of total costs is covered by the federal government.

The editorial also demands that SEMCOG and the State give serious thought to raising the state gas tax, either for all gasoline or just for diesel, creation of toll roads or toll lanes, and a regional sales tax to support regional mass transit in southeast Michigan.