Editorial: Another victim of gas prices

Legislative efforts at addressing Michigan’s crumbling roads hit a pothole this week in the form of current gas prices.

Now there’s a surprise.

State Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, told the Detroit Free Press Monday that legislation before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which he chairs, is all but stalled until gas prices return to more normal levels.

Of course, defining “normal” these days and gas prices leaves the discussion wide open for different interpretations. While mid-week the news was prices were believed to start moving downward soon, as of Thursday morning that had yet to occur.

The legislation Schmidt was referring to were two pieces in the House, one that would increase vehicle registration fees in the state, while the other would move gas taxes to the wholesale level.

However, both’s appearance before the committee coincided with the recent hike in gas fees to over $4 a gallon across Michigan. Obviously, with prices like that, the chance for committee approval, let alone full House approval, on bills that would add to motorists’ financial burden were drastically reduced. Schmidt, who has been around the block more than once on legislation such as this, didn’t even risk rejection and kept both bills on the sidelines.

The $4-plus a gallon seems to be the price point that has pushed most people across the line. Fewer motorists are purchasing gas and everyone is complaining about its price.

It is our hope prices return to below $4 soon, so the summer tourism season isn’t jeopardized as well.

A week or two with prices at this level is bad enough, but a whole summer of that pricing would be disastrous.