Detroit News: Prop 1 suffers worst ballot smackdown in decades - Chad Livengood, Leonard Fleming, May 7, 2015

Proposal 1 suffered the worst defeat Tuesday of any Michigan constitutional amendment ballot measure since the current constitution was adopted more than a half-century ago, as 80.1 percent of voters rejected the sales tax increase and road funding plan.

The prior low mark of a constitutional ballot measure was set in 1980, when 78.8 percent of the electorate beat back Proposal A, which would have shifted taxes to ensure equal school funding among all districts in the state, according to state records.

Free Press: Voters' distrust transcends rejected roads plan - Brian Dickerson, May 7, 2015

If there is any clear takeaway in Proposal 1's defeat, any one premise our elected officials should keep in mind as they regroup for another go at Governance 101, it's how little credibility they have, individually and collectively, with the voters who hired them. 


It's hard enough to make unpopular choices when your constituents think you are doing your level best to solve a real problem. When a significant number of them believe the problem is contrived — or that you are exploiting a crisis to secure some selfish political objective — the difficult work of legislating becomes impossible.

Free Press: If we want better than Prop 1, we have to demand it - Stephen Henderson, May 6, 2015

And if you're sitting around thinking that the spectacular death of Proposal 1 at the polls marks a defeat for anyone but us, the people of Michigan, then you're sorely deluded.

Detroit News: Prop 1 defeat sparks fight on alternative plans - Chad Livengood, May 6, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said the voters "have clearly spoken" that they want a legislative solution, but he doubts there's the minimum 56 House votes, 20 Senate votes and Snyder's signature to sacrifice other programs for road funding.

"I don't know if you're going to get 56, 20 and one to cut a billion dollars out of it," Meekhof told The Detroit News late Tuesday. "You might be able to do that once, but after that you'd be a pretty sad state."

MLive: After Proposal 1 debacle, Gov. Rick Snyder and Legislature need to rebuild voters' trust - Susan J. Demas

Detroit News: Michigan voters reject Proposal 1 tax hike - Fleming & Heinlein, May 6, 2015

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills, who backed Proposal 1, said the loss showed middle-class voters are sick of shouldering the burden of recent tax increases. 


"Our families have given Lansing $1.6 billion in new taxes with nothing to show for it — not better schools or better roads — because all that money went to give tax cuts for corporations," Greimel said. "Michigan families are saying to Lansing politicians, 'No more one-sided sacrifice.' It's time for corporations to pay their fair share and help fix the roads."

MLive: SEMCOG disappointed by Proposal 1 vote, calls for 'straightforward' roads solution.

Free Press: Michigan voters deflate Proposal 1 - Mike Thompson, May 5, 2015

MLive: Michigan Voters made "road kill" out of Proposal 1, which failed in historic fashion.

MLive: Ann Arbor State Representatives disappointed, not surprised Proposal 1 failed - Lindsay Knack, May 5, 2015

'Across the state, more than 80 percent of voters rejected the proposal. That figure was 64 percent in Washtenaw County.


State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said he's seen "visceral disgust" from voters with the idea that large corporations have received tax breaks in recent years, while Snyder and the Michigan Legislature then came to the middle class for road money.'

Free Press: Michigan voters soundly reject Proposal 1 road tax plan - Paul Egan, May 6, 2015

Free Press: Proposal 1 fails; what's next?

WXYZ: Michigan voters reject Proposal 1 overwhelmingly.

MLive: Michigan Proposal 1 fails as voters reject tax increase to fund road repairs, more

MLive's Election Results coverage

MLive's post vote discussion

Detroit News: Projection: Michigan voters reject Proposal 1 tax hike

Detroit News: Polls close; vote count on Prop 1, local issues begins

WXYZ's Live Election Results


Here are links to the past several months of reporting from Lansing and Detroit.

Free Press: Proposal 1's passage would trigger these 10 laws - Paul Egan, May 4, 2015

Crain's Detroit Business: Where would Proposal 1 revenue go? - May 4, 2015

Free Press: Michigan, Prop 1 headed south together - Brian Dickerson, May 2

The bottom line, though, is that Michiganders are no longer up to taking care of their own property.


The government-is-the-enemy crowd smells victory in the impending defeat of Proposal 1. They, too, acknowledge that Michigan's infrastructure is crumbling. But they're certain the solution is not to spend more tax money on roads and bridges, but less on everything else: public transit, college professors, health care, alternative energy, food inspection.


If Prop 1 fails, as pollsters widely project, these small-government conservatives will spin the voters' verdict as a rebellion, an act of defiance by ordinary taxpayers standing up to tax-and-spend politicians in both parties.

BallotPedia: Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment, Proposal 1 (May 2015)

Detroit Free Press: Proposal 1 Cartoon Gallery

Detroit Free Press: Proposal 1 Voters Guide

Detroit News: Snyder pushes Prop 1 by throwing asphalt - Tom Greenwood, April 23, 2015

Detroit News: How did we get to the point where voting ourselves a tax increase became our best hope for better roads? - April 20, 2015

Detroit Free Press: New Prop 1 ad overstates the case about lousy roads - Paul Egan, April 20, 2015

Lt. Governor Calley: Proposal 1 "unties the knot" of complicated funding.  - Stephen Kloosterman, MLive, April 20, 2015

Michigan has had a cycle of borrowing to pay for roads projects since 1977, Calley said, but "we don't subscribe to that sort of a policy." The first $235 million of taxes collected at the pump each year now go toward debt service.  "The borrow proceeds are gone and the current proceeds have to go to pay the loan. We are still paying the loan on M-6."

MLive: Michigan's deteriorating roads cost motorists $686 a year in extra vehicle maintenance costs, according to the annual TRIP study, a transportation industry report released Monday.  - Jonathan Oosting, April 20, 2015

Detroit Free Press: Worsening roads could derail Michigan economy - John Wisely, April 20, 2015

"The report says that 38% of Michigan roads are now in poor condition, up from 23% in 2006. It also found that 45% were listed in fair condition and 17% were listed as good.  Roads in poor condition cost 19 times more than repairing ones that are maintained properly."

Livingston Daily: Just say no to Proposal 1, April 18th, 2015

MLive: Full coverage of Proposal 1: links to stories that analyze its effect, calculators showing its effect on you, databases documenting the state of Michigan's infrastructure.

Pros, Cons, and Confusion of Proposal 1 debated on WWJ - April 14th, 2015

Detroit News: By not supporting Proposition 1, who suffers? - April 14th, 2015

The Arab American News: As Michigan's roads crumble, legislators urge residents to back Proposal 1 - Samer Hijazi, April 2, 2015

"Since the Safe Roads Yes on Proposal 1 campaign has gone into full swing, with TV, radio and digital ads making the rounds, some residents have expressed concern that a sales tax increase of one percent could negatively impact lower income families. However, a section of Proposal 1 does aim to assist struggling working families with a State Earned Income Tax Credit to off set that increase.

If proposal 1 passes, $260 million will be divided annually among lower class families. Married couples who have full-time minimum wage jobs and two kids would net an additional $177 more in their pockets.  Married couples with two kids and one parent with a full-time minimum wage job, and the other parent with a part-time minimum wage job, would see $465 more in their pockets. A single parent with two kids who is working a full-time minimum wage job and makes less than $16,626 would see the largest benefit, with $608 more in their pocket annually."

Detroit News: Governors’ highway group raps Federal Transportation proposal - Dave Shepardson, April 7, 2015

"The U.S. Transportation Department proposal would require states to use at least 30 percent of some highway safety grant funds on pedestrian and bicycle safety if the state’s pedestrian and bicycle fatalities exceed 5 percent of a state’s total crash deaths."

Detroit Free Press: Voters' distrust is killing Proposal 1 - Brian Dickerson, April 2, 2015

Detroit Free Press: State of Michigan roads go from poor to terrible - Eric Lawrence, March 29, 2015

U.S. House, Senate Budgets Have Big Cuts in Transportation Infrastructure - David Reich, March 27, 2015

"Now that the House and Senate have both passed their budget plans, here’s one more problem with them: they’d cut highway construction and other transportation infrastructure funding over the next decade by 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively, below the cost of maintaining current funding levels.  The plans cite the Highway Trust Fund shortfall to justify these cuts."



Cleveland Plain Dealer: $7 billion transportation budget passes Ohio legislature - March 26, 2015

"That is a whole lot more money than we in Michigan will be spending on transportation in the next two years. But that is not the amazing part of this story. The amazing part is the Ohio House passed the bill by a vote of 97-0! Ohio already has a 28-cent gas tax that generates about $1 billion a year more than Michigan and they understand that it is not enough."

MLive: Commuter bus service on U.S. 23 north of Ann Arbor could happen in 2017 - Ryan Stanton, March 20, 2015

OHM's guide to evaluating and maintaining roads.  Prepared for the City of Novi, "Pavement Management Analysis" is viewable online Here or you can download it.   After a brief overview of the PASER pavement surface rating system, it explains and illustrates the various methods and costs (2012) of repairing asphalt and concrete pavement.  All the buzzwords are here: sealing, slurry sealing, microsurfacing, cape seal, thin overlays, pulverization and overlay, etc..   The guide also illustrates the dependence of a road's Remaining Service Life (RSL) on the money invested in road maintenance.

Wisconsin's PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating) Manual takes a deeper look at the road surface condition and rating.  It is viewable online or you can download it.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to discuss Proposal 1 road funding, answer questions in MLive video chat - Fritz Klug, MLive, March 20, 2015

Proposal 1 ads mostly true but somewhat misleading - Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 18, 2015

Get your questions answered on Michigan's road proposal- Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 18, 2015

Mass transit funding a target for critics of Michigan roads Proposal 1- Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 16, 2015

Proposal 1: The right road fix or a total mess? - Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 15, 2015

Proposal 1's passage would trigger these 10 laws - Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 15, 2015

Michigan Proposal 1 would pay off debt, ramp up road funding over three years - Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 12, 2015

LANSING, MI -- Michigan Proposal 1 would eventually pump some $1.25 billion a year into crumbling roads, but it in early years, it would also help pay off a total of $1.3 billion in debt for infrastructure that's already been built.

Option B for roads? 'Bolger plan' returns in Michigan House, but former speaker backing Proposal 1- Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 11, 2015

5 key questions on statewide road funding proposal asked by Kalamazoo city commissioners - Alex Mitchell, MLive, March 10, 2015

Is it true that Michigan spends less on roads than any other state?


Yes, according to John Lamacchia, a legislative associative on state affairs for the MML.

Michigan spends about $154 per capita in road investment. The next closest state is Ohio at $214 per capita. Pennsylvania, a state Lamacchia said is similar to Michigan in terms of infrastructure, spends more than $500 per capita on its roads.


"There's no question our lack of investment in the system is the number one culprit for the problem," Lamacchia said.


Will some "special interests" receive a payout if the proposal passes?


"The people that are involved in this proposal are roads, schools and local government," Lamacchia said. "I may be wrong, but the last time I checked, those are not special interests in my opinion."

What about my road? See how much funding local road agencies would get under Michigan Proposal 1 - Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 9, 2015

Michigan road funding, generated through a combination of registration fees and fuel taxes, is distributed to government road agencies through a three-tiered formula with origins dating back some 60 years.


Public Act 51 of 1951 was an attempt to "recover from the depression and the war years and the toll it took on the transportation system in Michigan," Myron Frierson, director of finance and administration for MDOT, said in a recent hearing. 


"It's very prescriptive."


In general, 39.1 percent of state funding goes to the Michigan Department of Transportation, another 39.1 percent goes to county road commissions and 21.8 percent ends up with city and village road agencies.

'We'll pay more for roads that are safer,' Michigan family says in first Proposal 1 ad from supporters - Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 6, 2015

Prop 1 makes Snyder, Schuette split public - Nolan Finley, The Detroit News, March 5, 2015

Roads proposal 'has a lot of potholes,' says Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette - Jonathan Oosting, MLive, March 4, 2015

'"From a policy perspective, this proposal has a lot of potholes and pitfalls," Schuette told MLive. "It's a massive $1.9 billion sales tax increase that goes well beyond road funding. There's just too much under the tree."

Proposal 1, along with related laws it would trigger, [such as surcharges for owners of electric and hybrid vehicles] is projected to eventually generate $1.25 billion a year for roads. Once full implemented, it would also raise $200 million a year for schools, $111 million for cities, $116 million for mass transit and $173 million for the general fund.'

Looking At Proposal 1, WDET, March 3, 2015

Host Laura Weber-Davis discusses the complicated roads proposal that Michigan voters will decide on in May with guests including Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson, Detroit Regional Chamber of Congress' Vice President for Government Relations Brad Williams and former head of Ross Medical Education and Founder of the Coalition Against Higher Taxes Paul Mitchell.

Michigan Prop 1 road funding: Everything you need to know about voting, ballot language - Fritz Klug, MLive, March 3, 2015

Michigan Chamber will stay neutral on Proposal 1 - Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, March 2, 2015

Roads 101: What you need to know about Proposal 1, - Detroit Free Press, February 28, 2015

Michigan roads Proposal 1: Here's the exact question wording you'll see on May 5 ballot - J. Oosting, MLive, February 26, 2015

Tax hike's boost for Michigan roads detailed - Detroit News, February 24, 2015

'Currently, the federal government will fund 80 percent of the cost of projects involving interstate, U.S. and Michigan roads, but only if the state can come up with a matching 20 percent.


If the state is unable to attain matching funds, those federal dollars end up going to other states.

According to MDOT, Michigan currently invests $154 per capita on roads compared to $530 for Pennsylvania, $412 for Illinois, $302 for Wisconsin, $239 for New York, $289 for Indiana, $275 for Minnesota and $214 for Ohio.


In 2012-13, about 19 percent of Michigan's roads were considered to be in good condition, about 48 percent in fair condition and 33 percent in poor condition.'

Michigan Political Points: Can you describe the May roads proposal in 100 words or less? - J.Oosting, MLive, February 21, 2015

Audit warns of ineffective MDOT monitoring of roadwork - Gary Heinlein, Detroit News, February 20, 2015

Michigan had 452 active road construction and 29 bridge warranties on April 16, 2014. From Oct. 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014, a period covered by the audit, MDOT oversaw the completion of 1,340 road and bridge construction projects costing $1.4 billion. State law requires the department, when possible, to get warranties on state trunk-line projects.

Senator Gary Peters blasts sales tax proposal 1 for roads - Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, February 18, 2015

"The Legislature should have done their jobs," and passed legislation to raise money to fix the state's crumbling roads and bridges, instead of sending a sales tax proposal to voters," said Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, after touring a plant in Lansing.

Michigan Road UnderFunding Debate to rage on through May - J.Oosting, MLive, December 20, 2014

MDOT Releases Five-year Project Plan - Tom Greenwood, The Detroit News, December 11, 2015