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Tim Skubick: Snyder avoids putting a number on cost to fix roads

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

He's a numbers guy through and through…except when it does not serve his agenda to be one.

Gov. Rick Snyder has been engaged in a cat and mouse game with the capitol press corps on how much money the state needs to spend right now to save cash-strapped local government which is up to its eyeballs in snow removal/pot hole bills.

About three weeks ago, the governor demurred when asked how much it would take?

In essence he said, we're working on it.

Fair enough.

The next week:  Same question.  Same answer.

Hum?  For a numbers guy you had to wonder what the heck was taking so long given that the state transportation director had recently used an $80 million figure to cover the costs.

And then in week number three of this little approach- avoidance game, Mr. CPA still said they were crunching the numbers.

Well guess what boys and girls?

He doesn't want to release a number.

How's that?

Bill Rustem, the governor's seasoned veteran on road funding, reveals the inside skinny on all this.

"There is no sense talking about a number.  We've got to focus on the long-term.  What we can't let happen is a short-term number, a little fix, and O.K. we're done with transportation.  That's not true."

Ah ha.  Now the governor's strategy is clear.

This reflects the age old adage that if politicians put a band-aid on a cancerous sore, it will look nice and provide a false sense of relief to the voters back home but the disease is still there.

Asked if that meant the governor would not release a number in the middle of this short term debate," Mr. Rustem candidly advised, he would not.  "At this moment the governor is focused on the long term fix."

Which is the way it's been for more than three years.  He's focused but where are the rest of them?

They are in a conference committee right now trying to find a short term fix somewhere between $100 and $215 million while the gov's long term fix remains a work in progress with not much progress being made.

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