The Michigan Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would increase gas taxes over the next four years to raise more than $1 billion annually to fix the state's deteriorating roads and bridges.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the wholesale tax would begin at 9% on April 1, 2015 and would gradually increase to 15.5% on January 1, 2018. Based on a wholesale gas price of $2.50 per gallon, the legislation passed on Thursday by the Senate would result in a gas tax hike of 17 cents per gallon when fully implemented in 2018. An analysis from the Senate Fiscal Agency says the bill could raise between $781 million and $1.5 billion extra per year.

In a statement, Governor Rick Snyder, who has been advocating for increased road funding for three years, said he commends "the state Senate for its bipartisan action" and he remains "committed to working with our partners in the Legislature on comprehensive solutions to Michigan's infrastructure needs." Snyder also praised the leadership including Democratic Minority Leader-elect Jim Ananich from Flint.

Thursday's action by the Senate is just the first step that could play out in the Legislature's lame duck session. The Michigan House of Representatives - which passed a bill earlier this year that would raise $500 million to fix the roads - still need  to vote on this. There is also the possibility the Senate could tinker with what was passed on Thursday.