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Michigan's Local Roads Facing Dire Challenges

Monday, January 22, 2007   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nancy Brown
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Michigan’s more than 90,000 miles of county roads and over 25,000 miles of municipal streets face severe funding shortfalls while continuing to face growing demands, according to a new report. 

Entitled “The Rough Ride Home: A Look at Michigan’s Local Roads,” the report examines how this funding shortage is affecting traffic levels, deteriorating roadways and even staffing issues for county and city governments around Michigan.

The report, published by the DriveMI campaign, finds that Michigan’s city and county governments are under funded by roughly $2 billion annually based on previously documented needs. Counties have averaged $621 million annually and cities $354 million annually since 2000, when it was projected they would require $1.7 and $1.1 billion, respectively, just to meet critical and essential needs.

“We have not stepped up to the plate when it comes to addressing funding needs for our local governments,” said Mike Nystrom, co-chair of the Michigan Transportation Team, which is leading the Drive MI campaign. “We’re starting to see the impact of this neglect with increased congestion, growing commute times and high accident rates.”

Of Michigan’s 19-cent per gallon gas tax, counties currently receive only 6 cents per gallon, or roughly $300 million annually, to be spread among 83 county road agencies. The state’s 533 cities and villages must split 3.5 cents per gallon, or about $170 million annually. While these levels have remained flat, the report finds that highway and street construction costs have jumped 33.1 percent since October 2002, meaning the limited funding available to the locals is buying even less than it did a few years ago. 

While the funding deteriorates, the report notes that vehicle miles traveled on Michigan county roads has grown 50 percent in the past decade, 31 percent of urban highways are congested and the typical Michigan commuter spends an additional 24 hours stuck in traffic when compared to 10 years ago.

“The citizens of the state of Michigan don’t necessarily need a report to tell them the obvious – that our local streets and bridges are crumbling and are in need of a significant infusion of investment,” Nystrom said.

The Drive MI Campaign is fully supported by the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT), a partnership of businesses, associations and citizens linked with the common goal of improving Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. The campaign is committed to promoting the development and maintenance of a safe, convenient and efficient transportation network that serves the public, private and economic development needs of Michigan.

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