Will the chickens cross the road?

We still haven’t wandered far from the perceived wisdom that lawmakers in Washington avoiding reauthorization progress won’t raise the fuel tax or do anything else that might   might  upset voters because they fear re-election mayhem more than they want better roads.

But maybe lawmakers in Michigan will face up to the fact that if you don’t do something unpleasant highways and bridges will  become their own disaster. Yes, everyone knows this; the key here is the “face up to” part.  The Detroit Free Press reports that necessity might just give Michigan lawmakers enough of a push to become the first chickens to cross this road.

State officials are hoping to avert dramatic cutbacks in road and bridge construction beginning in 2011 as transportation funding collapses.

 Look for a renewed push in 2010 for higher gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, as well as serious examination of alternatives, including toll roads and private funding of roadwork. They’re all in the mix of options that lawmakers and road construction groups are considering so the state might avoid delaying or killing badly needed road repairs.

There’s a lot more to the Freep story.

If the elected lawmakers in Michigan do this, my guess is, sticking with the chicken theme, the sky will not fall and the public will largely accept that it had to be done. Putting the public first is such an old-fashioned idea. Time for a comeback.