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Lawmaker: Vehicle repair fund exists because Michigan roads aren’t fixed

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2025 budget includes $5 million for a car repair program.

The program would fund vehicle repairs, purchases and other services to obtain and retain employment not to exceed $2,000 in the past year – the same cap as last year’s budget but more than double from the $900 cap in the year prior.

Assuming every Michigander receives a max of $2,000 for a car or a repair, the fund would serve only 2,500 people.

If enacted into law, the project would be accomplished by using state employees or contracts with a tentative completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.

“People wouldn’t need to pay to fix their vehicles so often if the roads weren’t causing damage in the first place. We need a substantive plan to fix local roads, not band-aids,” Rep. Donni Steele, R-Orion Township, wrote in an email to The Center Square. “Could you imagine paying for food poisoning service charges on your restaurant bill because they weren’t safely preparing meals? The governor is calling for the same type of backwards plan for our roads. Empty promises won’t fill potholes.”

In 2019, Whitmer campaigned on fixing roads but lacked a substantial funding mechanism after her proposed gas tax increase failed.

Whitmer says her new budget would make significant investments in road and infrastructure including $700 million in the Rebuilding Michigan Plan, $247.6 million to improve state and local roads, highways, and bridges and $150 million to support local bridge and culvert improvements and ensure the state fully matches available federal highway aid.

That total – about $1 billion – is 1.2% of her proposed 2025 budget which she said would lower household costs, including housing, transportation, healthcare, education, utilities and food.

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