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West Michigan businesses depend on sound infrastructure in order to move products and materials. A strong infrastructure network is vital to our economic competitiveness and should remain a top priority for the business community. 

The Transportation Committee analyzes issues and advocates for infrastructure policies and projects that make efficient use of each dollar spent on transportation.  The committee is comprised of Chamber members working in the manufacturing, public transit, rail, trucking, and other industries that rely on transportation. 

Legislative Update

On January 26, thirty bills were introduced in the Michigan House and Senate that comprehensively address the transportation funding crisis. 

These bills replace the current motor fuel tax with a 10.1 percent wholesale fuel tax, give counties the power to impose a county vehicle registration tax, mandate that local and county road agencies meet certain performance measures in order to receive funding, mandate that projects are awarded through a process of competitive bidding, create the Commercial Corridor Fund and create a Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority.

Full summary of transportation funding legislation (Senate Bills 909-921, House Bills 5298-5314).

The Issue

Our roads and bridges are underfunded by almost $1.4 billion annually. 

- This problem needs to be addressed; by 2023 the number will rise to almost $2.6 billion each year. 

- Continuing to defer this cost leads to a much greater burden, once a road falls into poor condition repairs cost 6 to 14 times more.

- The $1.4 billion is only for current pavement preservation, it does not mean perfect roads nor does it consider additional projects such as congestion relief.

- This number represents the lowest possible long term cost for maintaining our roads.

Declining revenue is adding to the crisis.

- Michigan’s gas tax was last adjusted in 1997, since then the purchasing power has declined 34 percent.

- During this time, the cost of road work has increased dramatically.

- To add to the problem, during this time the amount of fuel consumed has dropped considerably due to a rise in prices, increasing numbers of fuel efficient vehicles and changing demographics.

Without additional investment, Michigan will lose federal dollars.

- The state could lose up to $1 billion in federal dollars and more than 17,000 jobs.

Addressing the Crisis

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is addressing this issue and supports investment in our transportation and infrastructure systems. 

We can no longer afford to severely underfund our valuable infrastructure assets.  It is simply not an option to ignore this problem.  To do so would hamper our economy and impact our quality of life.

The Chamber is part of a state-wide workgroup on transportation investment and is making it a priority to deal with this issue.  

Our staff is inLansingand working with legislators; we will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf ofWest Michiganbusiness community.

2014 Meeting Dates

Thursday, January 23
Thursday, April 24
Thursday, July 24
Thursday, October 23

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Location: Chamber Office
111 Pearl Street NW

For more information, contact Joshua Lunger at 616.771.0336.

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