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Whitmer to propose $1 billion boost to transportation budget

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will propose a $1 billion, or nearly 20%, boost to Michigan’s transportation budget to repair roads and increase spending on transit and other programs.

The $6.3 billion plan the governor will present to lawmakers Wednesday includes nearly $378 million in new road and bridge funding from the federal infrastructure law. Three-quarters would go to state roads and bridges — I-, U.S.- and M-numbered routes — and one-quarter to local roads and bridges.

Whitmer’s proposal will include a call for augmenting the transportation budget with general funds. It also will factor in a nearly 1-cent-per-gallon fuel tax hike that took effect last month under a 2015 law.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the governor said Michigan has made “huge progress” repairing, rebuilding or replacing roads and bridges, “but there’s still so much more to do.”

Whitmer, who is up for reelection, made fixing the roads a major plank of her 2018 campaign. After the Republican-led Legislature rejected her proposal to significantly increase fuel taxes, the Democrat authorized $3.5 billion in borrowing to improve state-owned highways and bridges.

Other new federal infrastructure aid in the state budget would be used to replace lead water pipes, upgrade water plants, improve sewage facilities and bolster energy-efficiency programs.

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