Rep. Johnson: Legislature looks to score second victory for Michigan drivers with roads

Categories: Steven Johnson News

The 100th Michigan Legislature scored a big victory for Michigan drivers recently, approving a long-overdue car insurance overhaul to fix the state’s much-maligned no-fault system and deliver drivers guaranteed cost-savings.

The bipartisan plan we approved was the product of months of research, input from thousands of drivers and their families and the willingness of Democrats and Republicans to come together in a deliberative process to put the people of Michigan first – something voters expect and deserve.

This historic, bipartisan effort put smart solutions into law, giving every Allegan and Kent county driver and motorists across the state coverage choice, guaranteed rate relief and stronger consumer protections.

Starting in July 2020, families across Michigan will have the freedom to choose for the first time in state history how much personal injury protection (PIP) coverage they want, resulting in hundreds of dollars in cost savings each year. Drivers will be able to choose affordable, alternative PIP coverage levels that best meet their personal and family needs.

Motorists with retiree health coverage or adequate health insurance policies will be able to opt out of PIP coverage altogether, saving up to 50 percent on their annual premiums. Michiganders interested in purchasing unlimited PIP coverage may continue doing so.

The new law also establishes a much-needed fee schedule to rein in runaway costs from medical providers and cracks down on fraud and abuse within the system – factors which will all help further drive down costs for everyone.

As demonstrated by solving the largest pocketbook issue facing drivers on our roadways, we can accomplish great things when we work together. Now it’s time the Legislature comes together again to properly fund road repairs and score a second victory for Michigan drivers.

I, like an overwhelming majority of West Michigan drivers, am heavily opposed to the governor’s proposed 45-cent per gallon increase in the state fuel tax. As a nation-high hike, it’s simply asking too much from the people of Michigan.

We must find a better way to allocate funding for road repairs – one that gets the job done without burdening hard-working taxpayers. In fact, the Legislature in recent years has committed – through responsible budgeting – even more resources to accelerate road repairs. Michigan is already making record-high investments in road repairs and is expected to spend $4 billion in 2019. We must consider this as we discuss the next steps needed for road funding.

Rather than finding additional revenue which often is generated through higher taxes, we must find innovative ways to build better, longer-lasting roads with the money generated by the 6 percent fuel tax Michigan drivers already pay – and ensure every penny collected goes toward roads.

I am hosting an upcoming roads town hall meeting Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. at Wayland City Hall. I will be joined by state Rep. Jack O’Malley, chair of the House Transportation Committee, to discuss with the community road-funding strategies the Michigan House is currently exploring to deliver better value for taxpayers.

We can fix the roads together. I know we can. I look forward to building on the momentum from no-fault reform and further working with my colleagues to achieve another great win for Michigan drivers.