How about this for Plan “B”.

Or, the “Right Michigan Solution for Fixing Michigan Roads”.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Soon enough, you’ve got the makings of a pretty good framework to work within.

If you’re really a Conservative, that is.

If not…well click below for more.

{Continued below the fold}

Just in case anyone thought that I had forgotten about this, I didn’t.

At the behest of a few of my, um, “sources”, they had suggested to me that I hold off on this for a few days until this got announced. It does factor into some of the info that I’ve received from them which I’ll be getting into soon enough later in this post.

I’d like to start off by thanking those who’ve provided suggestions and feedback (yes, I’ll even give a shout out to this person…even though they missed the parameters). I didn’t get much more in the way of cost savings, but I did agree to a point made by someone relating to something that was proposed budget-wise and added that into the total below.

I also received two suggestions that I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of including earlier. I’ve incorporated them below.

So, enough of the background. Let me get down to brass-tacks.

I’ll begin by breaking the overall plan into two areas. The first being proposed changes to the status quo at MDOT so that we can realize a road system in which we can be proud of, instead of embarrassed, while using the available resources to their fullest potential.

Let me begin by pointing out a shocking revelation. It’s called the truth.

“Roads” means “roads”: For this proposal to get to the root of the problem, the “Right Michigan Solution for Fixing Michigan Roads”, does exactly what its name implies.

Emphasis on the Fixing Michigan Roads-part.

This proposal is only for fixing: a.) roads, b.) bridges, and where applicable c.) tunnels specifically designed for transporting vehicle traffic (i.e. cars, trucks and buses).

It will have absolutely NOTHING to do with supporting the day-to-day operations of trains, buses or any other means of transportation. Those modes of transport can rely upon the quaint notion of a fare box or ticket sales to raise any “needed” revenue for their continued operation.

The “Right Michigan Solution for Fixing Michigan Roads” isn’t a slush fund so that you can pay back political favors/donations.

Do that with your own money if you want to be feeling generous.

It is not to be used to prop up other areas of the state budget.

This has been done for decades by Michigan (and the federal government). The results should be patently obvious by now.

Here we go…

Implementing the Davidson Technique: The first way that we can accomplish quality roads is by building roads the right way from the beginning. It’s time to eliminate Lansing’s current strategy of building roads that self-destruct after a decade (if that), and then turn around and use them for a stage prop in order to wring money out of Michigan Motorists.

Not only do you embarrass yourself when this deception is pointed out, but your arrogance only infuriates the very same Michigan Taxpayers by presuming that we were too stupid to realize what you are doing in the first place.

Contracts that are worth the paper they are written on: When you have road contracts that you fail to move forward on 52% of the time when defective work is discovered, you are literally wasting million of dollars in Michigan Road funds.

Just try to walk away with million of dollars from the state treasury. That is essentially what you are doing.

Let me know how well that works out for you?

This situation is no different.

Everyone in MDOT who is responsible for following up with road warranties will be held criminally liable for their (in)action. This goes from a low-level manager up to the head of MDOT.

You fail to do your job, you go to jail.

It’s that simple.

The prospect of being locked away for several decades should be incentive enough to get the job done here.

The Ohio Paradox: One of the arguments that I’ve received and frequently read/hear about is that neighboring states have superior roads to Michigan (I’ve driven on them very recently…they do).

Ohio gets mentioned a lot. Quite a bit, actually.

What most people don’t realize is that states like Ohio overstretch in their ability to do roadwork making the construction zones as much of a problem on traffic flow as the roads themselves being in poor condition.

I-75 through Ohio is a good example of this paradox.

If you’ve driven though Ohio, you’ve probably noticed that around 40-45% of I-75 is torn up and bottle-necked in multiple locations the entire length of the state from Michigan to Kentucky. The work going on through areas of Dayton and Cincinnati alone has been going on for nearly a decade now.

So how do you address this? The last area of internal improvements within MDOT has to do with addressing contractors getting a little “over-ambitious” and extending themselves too much in order to secure contracts. Perpetual road construction projects because of poor management decisions from road contractors who should have known better.

The solution?

Require road builders to post a bond to insure that they do not “over-extend” themselves. If they do over-extend themselves and fail to complete a project on time, they forfeit the bond. As an incentive to completing their contracts on time, the bond requirements can be designed to decrease the longer a road builder has demonstrated the continuous ability to complete a project on schedule.

The second; how to pay for this?

As I mentioned earlier in this post, this remained pretty much unchanged from the earlier post. In fairness, I did add the initial proposed increase of $159.5-million to the road budget by the Michigan House.

I did not use the latest $400-million figure simply because if circumstances change, we are looking at a similar scenario to what occurred during the dark days of the Granholm Administration where numerous projections she submitted came in well short of her initial estimates and ended up mucking things up for months. Anyone want another state government shutdown?

Be conservative (no pun, intended) with the estimates. If the actual amounts comes in a little higher, so much the better.

Quick math recap:

DPS spigot turned off for good – $50-million (for each proposed year)

Capitol View – $134-million

Train Storage – $ 1.1-million (in fairness, currently being addressed)

CTF – $200-million

MEDC– $230-million (in fairness, partially being addressed)

MPWL – $224-million (in fairness, currently being addressed)

Michigan Film Subsidy – $50-million (in fairness, partially being addressed)

Speaker Cotter’s initial road funding increase – $159.5-million

Total so far: $ 1.048-billion.

The goal was $1.2-billion.

Yeah, yeah I know. “Almost”  only counts in handguns, horseshoes and gravity propelled thermonuclear devices.

I’ll be straightforward; this amount is just a little shy of that goal because I felt that it was better to be precautious with the numbers for the reason cited above.

Now, about that delay in posting this I mentioned at the top. Remember the budget that was announced last night? The final amount that was included dollar-wise?

Notice that there is a bit of a gap between the target amount and what was actually included in next year’s budget.

Ever wonder if they have “overlooked” this “shortfall”?

Well, here’s a hint: Gov. Snyder and certain movers & shakers in state government have not.

What my sources have disclosed to me is that Prop 1 backers didn’t take too kindly to having a mud hole stomped into them by Michigan Taxpayers on May 5th.

Yeah, I know. Who would have thought.

Nonetheless, a number of high profile donors and organizations want to see a return on their “investments” in certain politicians.

They were not very keen on the idea of certain contracts and/or state programs being downsized or cancelled altogether in the aftermath of their failure at the ballot box.

Bottom line: A proposed tax hike is in the near future, with the exact type and amount still being determined (i.e gas tax increase, use tax, vehicle fee hike).

Talking points are being finalized and will be disseminated to supporters in various levels of government with the main gist being “there is nothing left to cut”.

Do you buy that?

I certainly don’t!

I hope that this post is a good starting point to prove them wrong. And if anyone has any future suggestions to add to this plan, then by all means, pass them along.

You Betcha! (12)Nuh Uh.(0)

  5 comments for “How about this for Plan “B”.

  1. 10x25MM
    June 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    House Bills 4614, 4615, and 4616 - the fuel tax components of the 'Cotter Plan' - all contain the inflationary tax ratchets of Proposal 1. It is poor public policy to allow legislators to put any tax rate increase on autopilot. They should contemplate and debate the necessity and amount of every tax increase. These debates offer opportunities to assess the efficiency of spending and to explore alternatives as they develop over time.

    Cable TV, health care, utility, airline, and ISP industries are the private sector companies most closely associated in the public mind with this kind of relentless price advancement. Why they are the most hated industries in America. Michigan's legislators may think that a tax ratchet will get them out from under responsibility for raising taxes, but every time fuel taxes ratchet up their approval ratings will sink.

    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)

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