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      Senator Casperson talks U.P. infrastructure

      State Senator Tom Casperson was talking about U.P. roads in a Marquette town hall meeting Friday. Infrastructure funding was all the talk at Peter White Public Library.

      The meeting was inspired by the "Students Reinventing Michigan" competition--a contest for all Michigan college and high school students.

      "Any undergrad, high school student, college student, university student, could come up with an idea for legislation that would solve a continuous problem, and we're going to have a different topic each year," said Senator Casperson.

      For the inaugural competition, the students were required to think of ways state lawmakers could improve roads and how to get more funding for infrastructure.

      One proposal is to change the way gas tax revenue is divided among government programs.

      "Competitively speaking with other states, we're in the ballpark as far as total taxation on gasoline, but when you look at what's actually going to the roads, we're at the bottom end of that taxation. Other entities are receiving the benefit of that tax on gasoline," said competition creator Jim Shea.

      Senator Casperson stressed, while Michigan has a six percent sales tax, none of the revenue generated from it goes toward road funding.

      As for U.P. roads, Senator Casperson is looking to expand.

      "Our road commissions are doing everything they can, trying to keep up, but it's come to the point that they're just maintaining what they've got. There's no improvement, and there's no expansion. That's not a good place to be, and we need to do better than that," Senator Casperson added.