Fixing MI Roads Number One Priority for Detroit Caucus

Roads deal should not place additional burden on citizens
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

LANSING – Detroit Caucus Chairman Representative Brian Banks (D-Detroit) joined today with Detroit caucus members to say that they are committed to working with legislative Republicans to pass a plan to fix and maintain roads but will not support one that does so on the backs of citizens. House Republicans have offered a plan that would raise $600 million in additional revenue and find another $600 million through budget cuts.

“There’s no question that we need to pass a roads plan. We’re concerned this plan would look for the $600 million to come out of programs that directly help Michiganders such as revenue sharing, human services, corrections and Medicaid expansion and that raises red flags,” said Banks. “We’ve fought the proposal to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit that helps low-income workers in order to partly fund a roads plan. We’re working hard to agree on a way to guarantee that money goes to fixing and maintaining our roads without endangering city services, and the health, well-being and safety of Michigan residents.”

Banks said the caucus is having discussions on how best to find the additional revenue, while also ensuring that the jobs that will come as a result also benefit communities, and women and minority-owned businesses.

“Ensuring that some of the road work contracts go to women and minority-owned businesses will help create good jobs for people and help grow our local economies,” said Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit). “We have a chance to not only pass a plan that will address our road needs now and into the future, but a plan that will also make a big difference for Michigan small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Members of the Detroit Caucus said that prevailing wage must be addressed with labor and all stakeholders. Republican-sponsored bills were introduced in the Legislature early this year to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage laws that guarantee fair wages for workers on state-funded projects. Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate and is currently in the House Committee on Commerce and Trade.

“We can fix our roads without increasing the burden on workers and families who may already be stretching their paychecks to make ends meet,” said Rep. Alberta Tinsley Talabi (D-Detroit). “We look forward to working with our Republican colleagues to craft the best plan that will take care of our roads and our citizens.”