Top Executive in Construction Industry Calls for Implementation of Recent Study to Create Thousands of Jobs, Help State Economy

December 4, 2008

DETROIT, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A leader in the construction
industry today called for the implementation by Governor Granholm and the
Legislature of two reports which would create thousands of jobs and give the
state’s economy a badly needed infusion of billions of dollars in new revenue.

S. Evan Weiner, chief operating officer of the Edw. C. Levy Co. which for
more than 90 years has been one of the state’s top integrated construction
materials companies, said that in the torrents of words written about
Michigan’s crisis-ridden economy, little has been said about a possible
transfusion that could help alleviate the state’s financial trauma.

He said the possible lifeline comes from of a study produced by a
committee appointed by Gov. Granholm –the Transportation Funding Task Force
(TF2) — which in its recommendations pointed out that if the state were to
invest $3 billion annually in its transportation infrastructure, that would
create 126,000 jobs and yield $15-l8 billion in other economic benefits.

In reaching this conclusion, TF2 pointed out that Michigan is woefully
under-funding its transportation infrastructure and if that problem were not
solved, deterioration of the infrastructure would increase dramatically.
Also, if the state were to do nothing, it would lose $1 billion a year in
federal funding because transportation agencies will no longer be able to
afford to provide the local match for federal dollars to which Michigan is

The TF2 report makes several recommendations to increase transportation
funding, including: increasing Michigan’s gas and diesel taxes, converting
the fixed-rate tax to a percentage of the fuel sales price, adjusting
registration and other fees, allowing local-option transportation funding, and
introducing various reform measures.

The TF2 report was followed by an economic stimulus plan from the Michigan
Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA). This plan also outlines
very specific financial proposals to rescue the state’s transportation
infrastructure that includes roads, bridges, transit, and airports.

While the MITA plan would cost Michigan drivers an average of $12 per
month in additional user fees, providing a $1.5 billion annual investment in
infrastructure would save the average driver $250 per year in improved safety,
$300 per year in vehicle maintenance costs, and $450 per year in personal
income. Thus, for $12 per month in fees, the average driver could enjoy
savings of about $1,000 a year.

In addition, MITA said the plan would save more than 4.5 million hours of
commuting time; reduce harmful emissions, and cut gas consumption by three
million gallons. It would also save 1,400 lives and prevent 10,000 injuries.

Weiner said the TF2 report and MITA’s plan issued last month, have
received little attention. The media have given them little coverage and
reaction from the Lansing powers-to-be has been minimal.

“Here is a chance to assist Michigan’s ailing economy by putting people to
work and upgrading the state’s transportation infrastructure. The opportunity
cannot and must not be lost,” said Weiner, adding:

“The members of TF2 and MITA, after extensive study, have proposed very
comprehensive and responsible recommendations.

“Given the present fiscal environment, it is imperative that the Governor
and Legislature immediately consider the recommendations in these reports, and
they should do so with a sense of urgency.

“Democrats and Republicans must set aside partisanship in the interest of
decisive and meaningful action. Whatever differences these proposals may
engender can be worked out by people who come to the negotiating table with
goodwill and a desire to help Michigan’s ailing economy.

“The economy of Michigan is too fragile for Lansing lawmakers to ignore
the economic benefits of the two reports’ proposals. We cannot wait. The
current lame duck session of the Legislature must act.

“It would be inexcusable to ignore plans that could put people to work and
give the state a much needed economic boost. Indeed, it would be

SOURCE Edw. C. Levy Co.

Source: newswire

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