Prop 1 failure urges more effort from state legislators

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 16, 2015


FRASER/CLINTON TOWN-SHIP — On May 5, after numerous months and town hall meetings in which legislators attempted to inform the public of the proposed changes to the gasoline tax, the 80-20 results marked the most lopsided loss ever for an amendment to Michigan’s constitution.

Proposal1 was deemed as convoluted by many citizens, who felt that the proposal was about too many things other than the roads.

Now, state legislators will have to work together to find another way to fix the porous road system.

Jim Santilli, the executive director of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, released a statement after the proposal’s results were confirmed. He said Michigan has to find a way to move forward in a sensitive state.

“Today is a sad day for Michigan, which is currently known as having some of the worst road and bridge conditions in the nation,” Santilli said. “With our road system deteriorating rapidly, we will likely see an increase in road and bridge closures, vehicle repairs, and incidents causing injury and death to motorists. Proposal 1 put safety and accessibility first, without taking away funds needed to educate our children and support essential local government services.

“While I believe the majority of the voters agree that Michigan’s roads and bridges urgently need attention, many citizens seemed to be confused about the tax changes.”

He praised Gov. Rick Snyder, MDOT Director Kirk Steudle and other officials for explaining the proposal to the public. However, Santilli then said legislators did not do their due diligence to explain the proposal to their constituents.

“Now that Proposal 1 has failed, I challenge the members of the Michigan Legislature who opposed it to develop and present a feasible solution to Gov. Snyder during 2015,” he said.

State Rep. Marilyn Lane, a Democrat who covers District 31 — which includes all of Fraser and Mount Clemens and part of Clinton Township — is also the vice chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Lane conducted town hall meetings and informational sessions in places such as Clinton Township and aimed to educate the public on the changes that would occur if the proposal passed.

In the wake of the results, she said that those in Lansing need to find another solution because the problem won’t go away.

“(On May 5) the voters’ voices were crystal-clear: legislators need to agree on solutions to repair our crumbling roads and bridges without endangering our local communities,” Lane said. “I remain ready and dedicated to work on finding that answer that finally fixes this decade-long problem. No more political games or stuffy rhetoric. It’s time for us to get to work.”

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon echoed Lane’s sentiments and said he hopes that those who opposed the proposal find a way to pay for roads that doesn’t include taking money from various programs and services.

“I’m afraid that what’s going to happen is we will have additional monies taken from our revenues to take care of our roads,” Cannon said. “If they don’t have another plan, ultimately they’ll probably hurt schools, villages, cities and townships.”