Poll: Michigan Voters Oppose Hike in Fuel Taxes, Registration Fees

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A multibill package introduced to the Michigan Legislature on Jan. 26 might face some strong opposition from voters, according to the Detroit Free Press. Polling results show the majority of respondents were not in favor of measures that would increase fuel taxes and the cost of vehicle registration in the state.

The proposed increases are meant to help finance much-needed road repairs. The bill also includes measures that would create a much-discussed regional transit authority that would hold sway over most of southeast Michigan.

Here are some of the details of the poll and the debate over Michigan's roads.

* The poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing, found 58 percent opposed new gas taxes and increased vehicle registration fees, even for road repair.

* 36 percent of the 600 people polled said they were in favor of the proposed changes.

* The proposal would mean an average increase of 9 cents a gallon in taxes and approximately $60 per vehicle in registration fees. Total revenue from those increases could potentially bring the state more than $1 billion to put into transportation infrastructure.

* The bill was created in response to pressure Gov. Rick Snyder, who has said he wants to see legislators come up with a way to raise an additional $1.4 billion in funding for state projects, according to the Associated Press.

* Different parts of the bill are co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans.

* The changes in the gas tax would raise the average tax from the current 19 cents per gallon to 28 cents.

* The proposed change to registration fees translates to an average increase of 67 percent. The fees would be based on the estimated value of the vehicle being registered.

* Mark Griffith, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association and the Michigan Association of Convenience Stores, has said he believes higher taxes on gas will ultimately hurt businesses and drive sales to cities in other states that border Michigan, according to MLive.

* Griffith also claimed Michigan's gas tax was already among the highest in the nation.

* Proponents have said it will be less expensive to raise the money for road repairs and improvements now, before the situation gets worse. It is estimated the state needs at least $1.5 billion to fix its roads and bridges.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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