Drivers of Michigan’s Economy to Legislators: “Just Fix the Roads!”
Monday, February 25, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Lauren Zdeba
Drivers of Michigan’s Economy to Legislators:
“Just Fix the Roads!”
LANSING, MI – Transportation is the backbone of Michigan’s economy and it’s at the breaking point, said Michigan Transportation Team business members representing the three largest sectors of Michigan’s economy – agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Leaders of nine business organizations representing tens of thousands of members across the state urged legislators today to increase investment in Michigan’s crumbling transportation system.
“It’s undeniable that Michigan is facing a crisis with our roads,” said Mike Johnston, vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “Manufacturers depend on a quality transportation system to get their products to market, and one-third of Michigan’s roads are already crumbling in poor condition. We need to fix the roads now before they get worse –and more expensive to fix.”
Thirty-five percent of all US/Canada trade flows through Michigan, $520 billion in freight is moved each year on Michigan’s highways, rail and water ports, and trucking accounts for 67 percent of all freight tonnage moved in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Discussion at today’s roundtable focused on how a crumbling infrastructure impacts Michigan’s key industries and businesses, and why the Legislature must act now to fix Michigan’s transportation network.
Michigan’s roads are deteriorating at a rate of $3 million a day, or more than $1 billion annually, according to a recent report released by the County Road Association of Michigan.
Matt Smego, legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau, said Farm Bureau members identified funding of roads and bridges as a top issue of concern.
“Poor roads take a heavy toll on vehicles and make it more difficult and costly for our members to transport crops from their fields,” said Smego. “Bringing Michigan’s transportation system up to par is a must and would lift a heavy burden off our agricultural industry. Legislators must act now to create better, safer roads.”
If legislative action is not taken now, 65 percent of Michigan’s roads will be in poor condition by 2018 – and poor roads cost six times more to fix than roads in fair condition. Fixing the roads will also boost Michigan’s economy, according to an Anderson Economic Group report, which notes that increasing investment in Michigan’s roads and bridges will result in a net increase of 11,000 jobs in the state.
With Michigan’s key spring and summer tourism season just around the corner, the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association warned that Michigan’s deteriorating transportation network threatens to mar the state’s “Pure Michigan” image for tourists. Eighty percent of Michigan tourism is auto-based.
“Our state has built a fantastic brand with the Pure Michigan campaign,” said Steve Yencich, president and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. “But tourists need to be able to access all of our great destinations, and that requires a quality transportation system. Allowing our infrastructure to continue to crumble and become more hazardous for Michigan residents and visitors is not an option.”
Other Michigan Transportation Team members calling for increased transportation funding today included the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, West Michigan Policy Forum, and the Michigan Manufactured Housing, RV and Campgrounds Association.
The Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) is a broad-based, bipartisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens with the common goal of improving Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. MTT 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. For more information on transportation funding, visit JustFixTheRoads.com.