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80% of New Local Road Proposals Pass Tuesday

Wednesday, August 13, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Michigan Information and Research Service

August 12, 2014


During last Tuesday's primary election, 80 percent of all new road funding projects and 100 percent of any special road funding renewals passed, according to an analysis provided by MIRS Election Night.


It's a sign that voters would support lawmakers looking at raising revenue for roads statewide, according to transportation interest groups. In total, 48 of 60 local ballot proposals dealing with new road funding passed. All 99 road millage renewals were successful. 


While many of the proposals were in small townships dealing with smaller dollar amounts, there were some significant asks. Voters in Grosse Pointe Woods said yes to a 10-year, $10-million ask for its roads. Proposals in Rochester Hills and Grosse Pointe also passed. 


Countywide millages in Alcona County ($373,671 first year), Arenac County ($98,000), Cheboygan County ($1,333,478) and Keweenaw County ($266,000) all passed while renewals in Houghton County ($1,149,954 first year), Kalkaska County ($732,863) and Montmorency County ($505,195) got the thumbs up. 


The only countywide proposal to go down was the most aggressive of the bunch -- a 6-year, $3,129,932 million proposal in Ionia County. 

"This should be a message to the Michigan Legislature that roads continue to be an issue with their constituents," said Mike NYSTROM, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA). "Michigan loses $3 million every day that the Legislature delays taking action on road funding, or $1 billion annually in transportation asset value. The Legislature needs to take bold action to fix this crisis." 

Nystrom added that every study that has been done on Michigan's deteriorating infrastructure points to the fact that the state needs at least an additional $2 billion annually just to maintain our current roads and bridges. Every year that the Legislature does not act, that funding need grows by over $100 million. 


"If voters in more than a dozen counties can cast their votes to approve local road funding, our state Legislature should be more than willing to do the same thing," Nystrom said. "It is time for them to step up to the plate and approve a long-term, stable plan to invest annually in Michigan's infrastructure. The citizens of Michigan expect nothing less." 


Not speaking specifically about roads but about how communities in general voted in support of money for programming, Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan GILMARTIN said voters support tax increases for services they want and that make their communities "desirable places to live, work and enjoy." 


"These results show that the state's system for funding municipalities is broken and that local communities and local taxpayers must continually counter the disinvestment in cities and village that state leaders continue to demonstrate," Gilmartin said.

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