Failing to tackle our roads

Updated: Friday, June 20, 2014
Failing to tackle our roads story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Many Michigan residents were taken by surprise last week when the Michigan Senate failed once again to make a plan to deal with our overwhelmingly bad and ever deteriorating roads.

Even as legislators left Lansing to vacation and campaign, there were reports from around the state of local residents taking it upon themselves to fix potholes in their neighborhoods.

We've seen it happen in Emmett Township.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's time for Michiganders to stand up and be heard.

=====================

To put it as straightforward as I can: the Michigan Senate--long controlled by Republicans--is a chamber of cowardice.

Here we are, in a state that virtually gave birth to the automobile, that put the nation on wheels more than a century ago; and we simply refuse to take on the massive task of fixing what are arguably the worst roads and bridges in the United States.

How embarrassing.

The argument goes that Republicans are either too caught up in an anti-tax manifesto, or are too afraid that conservatives in their districts will vote them out if they raise the gas tax by 25-cents a gallon.

Well, assuming their heads are in fact stuck in the sand, I've got news for them. A road tax is one of the few things people would be willing to pay.

Yes. A new poll last month by the Center for Michigan found that 58 percent of us are willing to pay more at the pump to attack what we--not our Senators--but what "we" think is an urgent priority.

Our Senators obviously have a different view. They've gone on vacation.

Not to suggest there are no Republicans trying to get the ball moving. Governor Snyder has been asking for action from almost the day he was elected.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, who's soon to be term-limited out of office, has been trying to lead a charge. But nobody is following.

Richardville hasn't always been on board, but he is now.

"The Detroit three," he said, "have learned to make better cars. People are working harder and smarter. It's time for state legislators to support a commonsense way to build better, longer-lasting roads. It's time to fix the damn roads."

I can sense the growing anger over the lack of action everywhere I go. If it's a given that our elected officials are afraid to tackle the issue, the case can now be made they should be even more afraid to continue ignoring it.

This is the same bunch who so cleverly headed off a minimum wage ballot proposal a couple of weeks ago to keep voters away from the polls in November. And they did it in one day.

It's time for them to show a little courage now and do a little something for people of all income brackets. If they refuse to budge, I can hear the chant of "throw the bums out" beginning to grow.

We need good roads for our own safety. To protect the investments we make in our cars. For more efficient commerce. For the tourists on whom we so heavily rely for our economy. To help attract business. To make us proud of our state and its infrastructure.

If our legislators fail us... it's time to replace them with a new crew who won't.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on August 27, 2015 17:16 GMT

FDA-TOBACCO

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to the makers of Winston, Natural Spirit and Nat Sherman cigarettes over their "additive-free" and "natural" label claims.

The agency issued the warnings to ITG Brands LLC, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. and Sherman's 1400 Broadway N.Y.C. Ltd. The issue over the claims is that they may lead consumers to believe the products pose a lower risk. That claim has to be scientifically proven.

In a statement, the FDA said it has determined that the products under the warning letter need what is called a "modified risk tobacco product order" before they can be marketed in that way. It has not issued any orders for modified-risk products to the market and this is the first time it is using its authority to take action against "natural" or "additive-free" claims.

The companies have 15 days to respond with a plan or dispute the warnings.

GENERIC BIOTECH-DRUG NAMES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has released its proposal for naming lower-cost biotech drugs, a critical step in creating a market for the new class of medicines.

Biotech drugs are powerful, injected medicines produced in living cells which are typically much more expensive than traditional chemical-based drugs.

For decades, they have not faced generic competition because the FDA lacked a system to approve cheaper versions until 2012. Earlier this year the agency approved the first lower-cost biotech drug, a knock-off of the blood booster, Neupogen.

But many questions remain about how the new drugs will be sold, including whether they can use the same ingredient names as the original products.

Under an FDA proposal, biotech drugs would include a four-letter code to help doctors distinguish them from the original versions.

HIDDEN GULF SPILL-SETTLEMENT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Environmental groups and a New Orleans company that failed to end a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit over the slow-motion spill.

Taylor Energy Company says it has agreed under the settlement to spend $400,000 to foster coastal research and will host a public forum and publish a website with information on the company's spill response.

Environmental groups led by the Waterkeeper Alliance sued Taylor Energy in 2012, accusing it of withholding information about the leak's potential impact on the Gulf ecosystem.

The groups also argued that the public was entitled to know more about the company's government-supervised efforts to stop the leak, which was the subject of an Associated Press investigation in April.

MCDONALD'S-CHICKEN ABUSE

NEW YORK (AP) -- McDonald's and its supplier Tyson Foods say they've cut ties with a chicken farmer after an advocacy group released a video taken with a hidden camera that the group said showed abusive practices at its farm.

The video was released by Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group that says it has released more than 40 similar videos in the past. The footage shows people scooping chickens into a bucket by whacking them with spike on the end of a pole, and standing on birds' heads to break their necks.

Tyson Foods Inc. said in a statement that it was investigating the situation, but that it terminated the farmer's contract "based on what we currently know." McDonald's Corp. said it supported Tyson's decision to terminate its contract with the farmer in question.

APPLE EVENT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple has announced plans for a new product event on Sept. 9 in San Francisco, where the giant tech company is expected to show off new iPhones and other gadgets.

Invitations for the event were sent to reporters and analysts this morning. In usual fashion, Apple is only hinting at what to expect. The invitations mention Apple's digital assistant, "Siri." Apple has previously said it plans to expand Siri's features in the new version of its operating software for iPhones and iPads.

Along with a new iPhone model, tech industry insiders have speculated Apple may introduce a larger iPad and a new set-top box for television sets. The company however has not confirmed any plans.

The event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in downtown San Francisco.

advertisement
Washington Times
advertisement