FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 5, 2016 Contact: Denise Donohue, CAE, APR
County Road Association joins call for veto of pre-election silencer
Lansing, MI – How will a township or county spend road millage dollars? What projects could be completed and how will tax dollars be used?
If Senate Bill 571 – fast-tracked through both legislative chambers in seven calendar days – is signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, county road agencies will not be allowed to disseminate factual materials or answer those questions within 60 days of an election.
“This is the key timeframe when voters start to take interest in issues on the ballot, and county road agencies are trusted local sources of information,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan. “Banning road agencies from communicating with the public during this time period shuts off the free flow of information and does not help voters cast informed ballots.”
County Road Association officials joined other local government, education and law enforcement leaders today in calling on Governor Snyder to veto SB 571.
Over the past decade, the number of counties with road millages has more than doubled as communities have sought local options to match state funds and improve crumbling roads and bridges. While county road agencies are already prohibited from electioneering in support of a millage, many provide local voters with a list of priority projects and maintenance issues that could potentially be completed if a millage proposal is passed.
“Voters want to understand what they’re voting on, and allowing the subject matter experts to provide factual communication to voters is a hallmark of democracy,” Donohue said.
Twenty-eight counties and hundreds of Michigan townships currently have dedicated road millages that could be impacted if SB 571 is signed into law.
The 83 members of the County Road Association represent the unified, credible and effective voice for a safe and efficient local road system in Michigan, collectively managing more than 73 percent of all roads in the state– more than 90,000 miles and 5,700 bridges— the fourth-largest county road system in the nation.