The governor of Michigan is serious and about her goal to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure and has the support a state panel.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been talking about doing something about the deteriorating roads dating to her campaign for the state’s top office. The Michigan political community has been kicking it around much longer than that. 

A state panel authorized the borrowing of $3.5 billion to roughly double spending on Michigan road and bridge construction over five years. Whitmer said the panel’s authorization is a move in the right direction to commence addressing the infrastructure problem but added the jumbo-sized expenditure isn’t a long-term fix. 

The Michigan Transportation Commission, which is split evenly among Democrats, Republicans and independents, unanimously endorsed the Democratic governor’s plan after she unwrapped it in her State of the Union message in late January. 

The bonds will bump spending on state roads — I, U.S. and M numbered routes — to $7.3 billion between now and September 2024 from more than $3.8 billion.

“Over the long haul we will actually be saving money as a result of this. it’s an important component of any strategy to fix a crisis as big as the one that we’re confronting,” Whitmer said. 

She emphasized that the additional spending can only go toward the worst roads and bridges, not ones overseen by local agencies. She said she hopes the Legislature will get serious about moving forward when it comes to fixing the state’s roads and bridges. 

Whitmer does not intend to craft a new permanent road-funding plan about a year after the Republican-controlled Legislature shot down her proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase, a proposal that didn’t play out well with the public. 

Even with her latest proposal that was supported by a state panel, GOP leaders are skeptical about the ambitious fix of roads and bridges and that may be convinced the governor has magically found money to overhaul roads and bridges when she has not. 

Republican leaders point out the state could remove the sales tax on fuel — which primarily goes to schools and municipalities and is not levied in many other states — and pass an equivalent per-gallon tax at the pump dedicated to roadwork, raising $900 million with no tax increase. They claim funding for education and local governments would stay intact if the state refinanced and delayed the repayment of debt in the school employees’ retirement system.

GOP leaders insist their plan is on the table and the governor needs to respond to their proposal. Whitmer has rejected such a move in the past.

It’s obvious the governor and GOP leaders are headed for a showdown on the fix-the-roads-and-bridges dilemma, which has been a political battle for much longer than the people of the state would prefer. In the meantime, the state’s infrastructure continues to decline.

The governor is adamant about fixing the state’s roads and bridges. Republicans are brassbound about not putting the state in a deep pothole when it comes to bond indebtedness and taking taxes to another level.

We urge the two sides to negotiate a compromise, which will attack the basic problem, which is improving roads and bridges. Our view of a compromise is when the parties are willing to settle their differences. No more stalling.