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The Journal Gazette

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:01 pm

Legislators reach deal on long-term road funding

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

House and Senate leaders reached a deal on long-term road funding this morning, and are taking the plan to caucus for approval.

House Speaker Brian Bosma declined to release specifics until the proposal was discussed internally with Republican members.

A vote in both chambers is not expected until Friday.

"We believe we have met our mutual goals of long term, comprehensive road funding," he said. "This will be the strongest road investment in our state's history, which I think is monumental."

He said it meets the goal of the House Republican caucus of transferring -- in time -- the sales tax collected on gasoline purchases to roads and bridges.

Instead of an immediate shift that would take $300 million in sales tax revenue from the state budget, the transfer of that money will happen during a number of years.

Both chambers had already agreed on a 10-cent increase in the gas tax as well as an annual automatic inflationary-adjustment to the tax. Several other vehicle fees will be included.

Details on the overall level of funding, as well as the split between state and local roads, have not yet been released.

Lawmakers have said the state road needs are about $1 billion on average in new funding during the next 20 years. Local units of government have pegged their need at $775 million a year.