Upper Michigan lawmakers may soon fly to, from Lansing
Upper Michigan lawmakers log thousands of miles each year driving to and from Lansing.
However, a new bill was recently introduced that could dramatically cut travel costs and save time.
State Representative, Beau LaFave recently introduced House Bill 5301 which would allow members of the state legislature to use existing flights to and from Upper Michigan to travel to Lansing.
"I looked at how much money it costs under the constitution to reimburse law makers for traveling back and forth from the Upper Peninsula to Lansing. Given the year it could be over a $100,000," LaFave calculated.
State Representative, Greg Markkanen says lawmakers such as himself, Beau LaFave, Sara Cambensy and Ed McBroom could safe state tax payers a lot of money if they were to fly to Lansing.
"There’s a lot of state agencies that fly to the U.P. every week and we would be allowed to take up some space on existing flights. We're not asking for a special flight. We're just asking to take up room on existing flights. If there isn't an existing flight, then we'd end up driving."
Markkanen says the mileage on his drive is one thousand miles each week.
"We’re going into the winter season here. The roads can be treacherous at times. It's a drain and it can be stressful if it’s snowing in places like along M-28. Flying would save us a lot of time and it would allow us to do our job better,” Markkanen asserted.
LaFave says once passed, the bill would streamline those countless miles of travel, making their work dramatically more efficient.
"We can save 40 hours a week in travel time alone which means we can be in Marquette, we can be in Houghton, we can be in Vulcan and Iron Mountain working harder for the people we work for while saving the state money," LaFave announced.
You might recall representatives and senators did at one time fly to and from Lansing. That was some 30 years ago or more.
"One of our senators misused that privilege and so we had that taken away from us at the expense of tax payers. It actually costs us more. So I put some safe guard into the legislation to make sure that can't happen again," LaFave declared.
The house and senate will vote on the bill later this year.