Friday, January 20, 2012

Gov. Snyder to business leaders: Roads, bridges need billions in funding

(Detroit Free Press) Gov. Rick Snyder told Detroit business leaders this morning that Michigan needs to sharply increase its spending on roads and bridges to ensure a brighter future for the state.

Speaking to the Detroit Regional Chamber at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit, Snyder said Michigan needs to spend billions of dollars more on roads and bridges over the next 20 years.

“If we don’t make that investment, what happens?” Snyder asked his audience of several hundred chamber members. “Once you have a road drop from good to fair to bad, it can cost you five times as much” to get it back to just fair. “All we’ve done is dump a huge liability on our kids.”

And Snyder repeated his call to build his proposed New International Trade Crossing bridge between Detroit and Windsor. State lawmakers in Lansing stymied those plans last year by refusing to back Snyder’s proposal.

“Everything says building this bridge is a fairly straightforward decision,” Snyder said. “The main impediment is a single special interest that has spent over $5 million on misleading ads,” he added, referring to the media campaign run by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun and his family.

“I’m going to keep plugging away on this bridge,” Snyder said. “It’s about jobs. It’s about international trade. …We’re right in the middle of one third of North America’s economy.”

Snyder also touted his 2011 accomplishments, repeating remarks he made earlier this week in his State of the State address.

“We got rid of the Michigan Business Tax, the dumbest tax in the United States,” he said. But he also repeated his warning that Michigan residents need to do more to fight obesity, including diet and exercise.

“The greatest thing we can do for health care costs in our country is personal responsibility,” he said.

And Snyder defended his decision to sharply limit the tax incentives previously given to Michigan filmmakers. Snyder said he dislikes tax credits in general, and that the money spent on film incentives, while creating some jobs, would produce greater benefits if put to programs like the state's Pure Michigan marketing effort.

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