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Fight continues to fund roads - money needed in 2008 to fix Michigan's crumbling infrastructure

Thursday, January 3, 2008   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sara Jacobs
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Dowagiac Daily News:

Fight continues to fund roads - money needed in 2008 to fix MIchigan's crumbling infrastructure


link: Fight continues to fund roads: money needed in 2008 to fix Michigan's crumbling infrastructure 

LANSING - The Michigan Legislature failed to provide adequate funding to fix our crumbling roads and bridges in 2007, but transportation leaders will be heard loud and clear in 2008. 


"We want legislators to know we are not backing down," said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), and co-chair of Michigan's Transportation Team. "We will continue to push for the necessary funds to make our roads and bridges safe." 


Under current state and federal funding formulas, Michigan will fall far short of the necessary funding to meet all its transportation needs unless it develops a new strategy to adequately fund its roads and bridges, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation's federally-required 25-year plan recently submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 


"MDOT's analysis makes it crystal-clear that the experts understand there simply is not enough money in the coffers to insure Michigan has safe, well-maintained roads and bridges in the short run or over the long haul," Nystrom said. 


It is estimated that the state has a $700 million annual shortfall in maintaining the MDOT-managed system and at least $2 billion in additional needs at the local level. 


Earlier this year, MITA unveiled a comprehensive plan for a dedicated and sustainable funding stream to make roads and brides throughout Michigan safer, repair deteriorating streets and relieve traffic congestion in rapidly-growing community. MITA has consistently promoted the same plan. 


The proposal would increase the state's gasoline tax three cents a year for three years. By 2010, the state's gas tax would be 28 cents per gallon - the same rate as neighboring Ohio. 


A nine-cent gas tax phased in over three years represents little more than an inflationary increase, since the last time the gas tax was raised 10 years ago. Currently, Michigan's gas tax ties for 30th in the nation. 


"We continue to push legislators for revenue through the state gas tax, however, we have not ruled out alternative ways to raise the necessary funding," Nystrom said. "The important thing is that we fix our infrastructure before it implodes." 


MITA represents a broad spectrum of underground and highway construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up. They have been a leading voice for securing adequate transportation funding at the federal and state levels. 


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