The Oakland County Board of Commissioners are calling on state legislators to amend a 69-year-old law that determines how much money governments receive for road repairs.
Public Act 51 of 1951 is the state’s funding mechanism that determines how revenue dollars allocated for roads and transportation are distributed. Under PA 51, state, county, and local governments receive money from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF), the bulk of which is made up of vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes.
Commissioner Shelley Taub (R-Bloomfield Hills) recently introduced a resolution, along with 10 of her colleagues, that states Public Act 51 “is in desperate need of reform to support the state’s modern auto infrastructure.” The resolution has received bipartisan support.
The resolution issues support for Senate Bills 27 and 28, introduced a year ago by Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Mount Clemens), which would require all vehicle registration fees to stay in the county in which a vehicle is registered and would require all fuel taxes to remain in the county where the fuel was purchased.
Right now, 37 cents of every vehicle registration dollar stays in the county in which the vehicle is registered as part of Public Act 51. Nearly 50 percent of annual MTF dollars distributed to county road commissions are from collected vehicle registration fees, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Craig Bryson, senior communications manager for The Road Commission for Oakland County, said the commission has some concerns about this legislation. The commission is receiving around $111 million from the MTF for Fiscal Year 2020, the largest and main funding source for its operations.
“We are concerned that it’s really just a shifting of funds around rather than generating additional funds for our roads,” he said. “By just taking money off the top, someone is going to get less money.”
The resolution goes on to read:
“The current funding formula dis-proportionally distributes revenue for road funding throughout the state without considering Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, which represent nearly 40% of the passenger and commercial vehicles and motorcycles registered in the state. The tri-county area has the largest volume of traffic, day in and day out, causing significant wear and tear on the region’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Legislation to reform Act 51 offers solutions to ensure the funding allocation is distributed proportionately for counties to receive a more equitable share of road funds based on population, volume of vehicles and drivers, fuel sales, and registration fees collected to fix the deteriorated roads and without increasing fees or raising taxes. Adoption the legislation to reform Act 51 would aid in rebuilding the deteriorating road infrastructure across Oakland County and the State of Michigan.”
This article appeared in The Oakland Press. Read more here.