Pothole Proposal


Beyotch, photo by Daniel E. Johnson

Ah Spring, when a young Michigander’s fancy turns to … potholes. They are on the ballot across the state today, but if you’re anything like me, whether or not Michigan’s Proposal 1 will help fix our crumbling roads is anything but clear.

One of my favorite sites is Ballotopedia, a nonpartisan website that provides accurate and objective information about politics at the local, state, and federal level. Their entry for the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment (Proposal 1) summarizes the numbers:

Proposal 1 is estimated to cost households, on average, between $477 and $545 in additional taxes per year. Households eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit would save between $24 and $69 in taxes per year. The costs to households is contingent upon household incomes, future fuel prices and consumer choices, with those driving more or owning more cars paying more. The condition of Michigan’s transportation infrastructure costs motorists, on average, $539 to $686 per year and, according to TRIP, upwards of $1,600 in metro areas.

Read on for a whole lot more including the pro and con arguments, supporters and detractors and assessments of the truth in ad claims about the measure. A couple more resources are Bridge Magazine’s summary of Proposal 1 and Jack Lessenberry’s take on the issue from Michigan Radio that says that although voters he spoke with believe that our roads are horrible and we need to spend more:

They just do not trust their government. Several people asked, “If we vote for this, how do we know they won’t just steal the money and use it for something else?’

Many of them remember, or have heard about the promises made when the original Michigan lottery was passed in the early 1970s. The voters were told that the profits would go for education. That was a key factor in getting voters to approve legalized gambling.

But while the lottery proceeds did indeed go to education, the lawmakers took away the money they had been spending on education and used it for other things. That still rankles people, some of whom weren’t even alive at the time.

View Daniel’s photo bigger and click for lots more of his Grand Rapids photos.

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