LANSING - The Michigan House on Wednesday signed off on a package of Senate bills aimed at boosting the state's involvement with alternative fuels, as well as finalizing the chamber's own bills on the same issue.
Approved were SB 1074 , SB 1075 , SB 1078 and SB 1079 by nearly unanimous votes.
While Rep. Neal Nitz (R-Baroda), one of the package's main sponsors in the House, had voiced concern over changes made by the Senate to the House bills as he had said it would cut funding for the retail sales of ethanol, he supported concurrence in those changes (HB 5181 , HB 5752 and HB 5754 ) as the chamber also acted on those during session.
Approved were SB 1074, which allows the state to temporarily impose a 12-cents-a-gallon tax, lower than the current 19-cents-a-gallon imposed on gasoline, on at least 70 percent ethanol, and 5 percent biodiesel fuel. SB 1075 requires the state to install fueling infrastructure at state motor transport facilities so that state vehicles able to use the fuels have easy access.
HB 5752 and SB 1078 are similar in content and provide for up to 10 additional renaissance zones in the state for creation of renewable energy facilities. SB 1079 requires all outlets selling alternative fuels to register with the state.
Under HB 5181, a Renewable Fuels Commission would be created in the Department of Agriculture to recommend strategies in the promoted use of ethanol and other renewable fuels, as well as efforts to promote alternative fuel research.
And HB 5754 would require the Michigan Strategic Fund to administer matching grant programs to help encourage incentives to service stations and bulk fuel plants to stock and sell ethanol and other renewable fuels.
"Investing in ethanol and biodiesel puts Michigan on the road to cheaper fuel prices and independence from foreign oil," said House Minority Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga). "Developing these renewable fuels also will boost our agricultural economy."
Also approved by the chamber, on a unanimous vote, was HB 4971 , which was discharged from the Tax Policy Committee last week. The bill allows for a Single Business Tax credit for the Hybrid Development Center in Troy. The center is a joint undertaking by General Motors, BMW and DaimlerChrysler to create a two-mode hybrid drive system.
"We are bringing jobs to Michigan and supporting businesses interested in developing advanced technology for automotive use that can be used to keep Michigan at the forefront," said bill sponsor, Rep. Fulton Sheen (R-Plainwell).
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