Spectacular Death in Michigan No Bar to Success in Washington
While Michiganders were being entertained and infuriated by the lies of Proposal 1 proponents, few of us noticed that the very same roads funding strife is reaching a crescendo in Washington. The Federal Highway Trust Fund spends about $ 50 billion dollars on ‘transportation’ across the U.S.A. each year. Michigan received $ 1.39 billion from the HTF in Fiscal Year 2014 for new construction of roads and bridges, along with mass transit activities. As a point of reference, Michigan spent an additional $ 2 billion of funds raised within the state for the same ‘transportation’ purposes. The Federal HTF paid for 40.9% of Michigan ‘transportation’ spending in FY 2014.
Funded in the past by an $ 0.184 per gallon Federal gasoline tax ($ 0.244 per gallon on diesel fuel), the Highway Trust Fund’s traditional fuel tax revenues have fallen to about $ 34 billion. The Federal government has been supplementing the Highway Trust Fund from general deficit spending revenues since 2008. In Fiscal Year 2014, the Federal government supplemented the Highway Trust Fund with $ 11 billion in general revenues.
Kwame’s and Bobbie’s ‘Bridge of Bucks’ over Telegraph Road
Now that Michigan voters have mercilessly dispatched Proposal 1 to the garbage can of history, lets talk a bit about the philosophy of a truly effective plan to get Michigan’s roads and bridges up to par. This will provide a proper foundation for developing a ‘Plan B’ which will actually improve Michigan’s roads and bridges, and be acceptable to the population as well.
The underlying premise of Proposal 1 was that the only action required to fix up Michigan’s roads and bridges was injecting big money into the Michigan Transportation Fund. The depraved philosophy of modern American government. Not true and the voters knew it. But Michigan’s power elite believed that opposition could be neutralized by icing a pile of feces with chocolate frosting. Didn’t work despite a lavish $ 10 million effort.
The condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges has only a casual relationship with the funds available in the MTF. In 2014, 11% of MTF funds were siphoned off by various State of Michigan Departments in the form of charge backs for ‘services’ rendered to the MTF, as well as priority grants that have little to do with roads and bridges. Debt service is also a component of this 11%, but that is effectively a payment for previous time preferences of bureaucrats and politicians. Then 9.5% of the remainder was diverted to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund for mass transit. Finally, the MTF was partitioned amongst the State Trunkline Fund (36%), county road agencies (34.6%), and cities (19.8%). In each partition, further funds are siphoned off by charge backs, pension payments, and OPEBs. What’s left for the roads is more a function of politicians and bureaucrats preferences at every level than the amount of money front loaded into the MTF.
So how do we proceed? First develop a philosophy to frame and inform the ‘Plan B’ debate. After the fold.
Proposal 15-1 died as it was supposed to, but there is still work to be done.
Assume ‘gloat mode,’ then get back to work.
If anyone thinks it ends here, they have forgotten the lesson of 2013 when we eased up pressure, (if only temporarily) and the governor slammed us with Medicaid expansion. In fact, when looking at the way things happen with this progressive mess in Lansing, scales put it this way to me directly:
“The gross underestimation has only brought a hike in the State Income Tax, Medicaid expansion, retirement pensions being raided, Common Core, 300+ Ghey *marriage* licenses, a quarter of a billion to the Ilitch’s ice rink who vote Democrat, a Detoilet bailout for the DIA, a recapture of control of the state Party via his pal Baird from Chicago and the Rockefeller-wing Romneys, a monolith of a Health Department, a NAFTA Bridge, a cousin with furniture contracts, more slightly faster Amtrak railcars, driver licenses for illegal alien anchor brats, a H1-B visa center operating out of his MEDC, the launch of moonslime Day at the Capital, Boji payola buildings, no-bid Medicaid contracts with moonslimes, a pending abomination of energy policy waiting in the House and Senate, and this goddam ballot proposal, of which, you notice the Nerd ain’t wooing anybody who falls within the Right side of the political spectrum, yes?”
RightMi.Com editors weigh in on their favorite anti-prop 15-1 articles.
We’ve had plenty to say about proposal 15-1.
In fact, there was so much to be said that we had to create a special category for it, and all things leading up to, and related have been edited by Kevin to reflect their importance to the issue. While the traditional media sources play the equal opportunity game with both proponents and opponents of HR UU (proposal 15-1), it’s been our position to not do so. We have maintained that equal opportunity is already a function of those who would lie about its ‘advantages,’ and it needs no further promotion to make it one of the most dangerous options Michiganians have ever faced at the ballot box.
As we wrap up the arguments with only 2 days left before the polls close, RightMi.com editors thought it important to offer up a few ‘MUST READS!’ As you make a special trip to the polls for an election day that you wouldn’t have if the last legislative session would have done its job we have highlighted the most compelling. The editors have selected 5 or more articles from RightMi.com directly, and one other from anywhere else, traditional or otherwise.
MITA gave another $ 25,000, new total circa $ 5.42 million
Michigan Aggregates Association gave $ 20,000, their first act of obeisance
PVS-Nolwood gave $ 25,000, new total $ 75,000
Operating Engineers Local 324 gave $ 35,000, new total $ 135,000
The motives of three late contributors are pretty obvious. PVS-Nolwood is a chemical company in Detroit specializing in acids and their disposal. As [a very profitable] part of this business, they unload neutralized acid byproducts on wastewater treatment plants as clarifiers. Those wastewater treatment plants just happen to be owned by various units of government which, in turn, use their water billings to rape the public at large. PVS-Nolwood have a long history of sucking up to Michigan’s power elites to further their very lucrative business interests.
SafeRoadsYes! has evidently burned through the $ 8 million plus they received in contributions during the regular reporting period and is now heading towards a $ 9 million cash burn. Hard to tell how much SRY have spent with any exactitude, the latest figures from April 24th show expenditures of $ 7.212 million. But they had a balance of $ 843,482 on that date which is presumably gone or going quickly. Expect more thrilling stunts and stimulating advertising in any event. Their war chest just got reloaded.
The paltry late contribution from MITA, taken together with the outsized contribution from the Detroit Regional Chamber, suggests that MITA is scraping the bottom of their member’s bank accounts. Or that they are employing a new form of campaign contribution concealment, feeding contributions through DRC’s Powering the Economy so contributors’ identities won’t be reported until after the election. Their servants in Michigan’s media reported the outsized involvement of road constructors in pushing Proposal 1 this week and it hasn’t played well with the voting public.
Will the Proposal 1 fight decapitalize Michigan’s road constructors? Will they raise their bids to recoup their political expenditures, further draining Michigan’s road funding? Are MITA and DRC gaming Michigan’s campaign finance laws to avoid any further embarrassing disclosures? Or have we just found out what $ 1.2 billion in additional annual contracts are really worth in profits to Michigan’s road constructors?