Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Kunse: Democrats care more about electric bicycles than local roads
RELEASE|May 9, 2024
Contact: Tom Kunse

Department of Transportation budget also includes $5 million for new road usage tax

State Rep. Tom Kunse on Wednesday staunchly opposed the Democrat Department of Transportation budget for lacking key funding for local roads. Instead, the budget included $15 million for aerial drones and 2.95 million for electric bike incentives. Recent research found that Michigan ranks 47th nationally regarding the quality of pavement roads.

“Our local roads are crumbling, yet Democrats have shown little interest in making real investments in repairing them,” said Kunse, R-Clare. “Fixing interstates and highways is nice and all, but the people see right through the governor’s phony attempt to claim those projects as tackling the entire problem. Our roads are costing people money; it’s as simple as that. Every day Democrats ignore this crisis another family is facing thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs after losing a fight with a bathtub-sized pothole.”

The MDOT budget also includes $5 million for the state to develop and implement a road usage tax. Democrats have been publicly discussing the potential tax that would require every Michigan driver to install a tracker in their car so the government can monitor the miles they’ve driven and tax them accordingly. Democrats claim this would replace the current 28.6 cent gas tax. Republicans are skeptical that Democrats could ever actually get rid of a tax while they impose a new one.

“Democrats are literally proposing that we spend taxpayer dollars to research how to take even more money from everyday people,” Kunse said. “They say the gas tax isn’t fair for people who don’t drive electric cars. Yeah, I think it’s unfair that I pay 28 cents a gallon more at the pump so Democrats can use that money to buy drones and electric bikes. The answer isn’t finding a new way to charge people. I’d be curious to see how necessary a fuel tax even is after you strip state government of all its wasteful spending.”

The MDOT budget also removes several key transparency measures installed by past Republican leadership to hold government more accountable. These changes include removing record retention, ditching a notification requirement for when MDOT enters into a long-term contract, and that MDOT would promote best practices for public transportation and regularly report on their efforts. The budget also removes disclosure requirements for when high-ranking employees receive loaded severance packages in government transparency.

“This is yet another example of Democrats showing their true intentions when it comes to transparency and accountability in Lansing,” Kunse said. “They don’t hold committee hearings but introduce bombastic legislation. Some of their own members have deeply concerning alleged ethics violations. Yet, those same members just supported budgets that remove some of the only remaining accountability measures enacted by the Legislature. You can’t make this stuff up. Democrats literally just voted against transparency and for forcing everyone to have trackers in their cars.


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