A bi-partisan panel will begin discussions today aimed at trying to break the impasse on road repair funding.  Looking, according to officials, to wipe the slate clean and find a passable plan.

MLive.com is reporting today that six Michigan Senators make up the panel, including Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing.

The idea is to bring together a smaller number of lawmakers to foster a workgroup type atmosphere that is hoped to find a long-term solution to the problem.

Richardville was the driving force behind a plan to raise $1 billion through a phased-in fuel tax.   That idea was met with pushback from both sides of the aisle.

Democrats are pushing for a plan that would offset any hikes in the fuel tax with homestead property tax credits.

Ideas now being considered are coming from both parties, including additional fees for drivers--personal and commercial--and lowering truck weights.

Governor Snyder has been pushing a road funding plan for two years now, claiming the cost of a fix now will be better than waiting for roads to deteriorate even further.

The Senate isn't expected back in session until the fall, but many analysts believe any tax increases will be a hard sell for lawmakers until 'after' the election in November.

Join Jo Anne Paul weekday morning beginning at 6 o'clock for news updates on 99.1 WFMK FM and the on the Michigan Talk Network. 
joanne.paul@townsquaremedia.com