“Engler didn’t talk to me for six months after that,” Patterson recalled Friday.
Such taunting is so far unnecessary this spring, with lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature moving to pass a supplemental spending bill that includes money for potholes, perhaps fearing election-year backlash from voters more frustrated with the costs of bone-jarring, wheel-busting potholes than with the additional state government spending.
The supplemental spending bill signed into law Friday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley allocates $100 million for potholes and winter-related upkeep, plus another $115 million for priority construction projects scheduled to begin by July 1. The additional spending takes effect Tuesday.
Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties are projected to benefit the most from the extra $100 million.
The condition of Michigan roads has become a political issue this year as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder seeks a second four-year term against Democrat Mark Schauer.
Democrats have even put up a websitesnyderholes.com and encourage people to sign a petition to the governor for more money to fix roads.
Democrats say Snyder’s inability to get the legislature to approve significantly more spending for Michigan roads is to blame for their current condition, although the governor has advocated for nearly $1 billion in additional money through new fees and shifts in taxes, calling the condition of the state’s infrastructure an economic issue.