Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele: New budget neglects local roads, bridges
RELEASE|May 8, 2023
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele, who serves as minority vice chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, continued her efforts to fix crumbling local infrastructure in Michigan communities.

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the House Appropriations Committee crafting the annual state budget, Steele, R-Orion Township, spearheaded an amendment to substantially increase funding for local road repairs. House Democrats rejected Steele’s amendment, along with other Republican-led amendments to ensure transparency, oversight, and fiscal responsibility while repairing Michigan’s roads and bridges.

“Our state budget must repair our roads and bridges, especially our local infrastructure where the need is greatest,” Steele said. “That’s why I put forward a plan to increase funding for local roads, but the Democrats rejected my common-sense plan — prioritizing flashy new programs and projects, such as e-bike subsidies and pedestrian streetscapes, instead of fixing our city streets and local lanes. I can’t support a budget that pours the people’s dollars into unnecessary pet projects while leaving our local roads and bridges in disrepair.”

Steele’s amendment would have redirected one-time spending to local infrastructure. The amendment failed due to unanimous opposition from the Democratic majority on the Appropriations Committee.

Steele also supported amendments to restore transparent reporting requirements that Democrats had removed from the budget. Steele said she was disappointed Democrats blocked amendments to require the department to report critical information, such as bond debt, legacy costs for retirement benefits, incentive and disincentive programs to encourage job completion, and a Mackinac Bridge viability study. Democrats also rejected an amendment to ensure the state notifies municipalities about their cost-share obligations for road projects in a timely manner.

Steele criticized the lack of transparency measures in all aspects of the budget. Republican lawmakers, state and local road officials, and others did not receive the budget proposal until hours before it was first taken up in subcommittee.

“By waiting until the eleventh hour to reveal their budget, House Democrats created a process that lacks transparency,” Steele said. “This last-minute notice also makes it impossible for legislators and outside experts to review the legislation and offer constructive input.”

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