Michigan’s state legislature will proceed with budget talks without approving major funding for road repairs, according to an announcement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday morning. The announcement put to rest concerns about a potential government shutdown next month.
Whitmer, along with Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-District 107, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-District 16, said in a public statement that a larger infrastructure plan to fix damaged roads in Southeast Michigan would be pursued separately from the 2020 budget, which must be approved by Oct. 1 in order to avoid a government shutdown.
A major component of Whitmer’s 2018 campaign was an effort to repair Michigan’s infrastructure, particularly its roads and highways, which are among the most damaged in the country.
The governor’s original plan to pay for road repairs was a 45-cent gas tax, which was shot down by both House Republicans and Democrats in June. While Whitmer is still actively pursuing an expansive infrastructure plan, she explained Monday the budget is the first priority, stating, “the people of Michigan deserve leadership in Lansing that will work to continue providing them with services they depend on every day.”