$150 Million Road Bonding Proposal: Craters Engulf Michigan Roadways While Policymakers Wait Eight Months to Complete a Study
LANSING — While huge craters and potholes overwhelm Michigan roads, state policymakers pass the buck by waiting eight months for a new report to be written before even beginning to take action.
Gov. Granholm held a press conference today to tout her $150 million bond program that would help expedite road projects initially planned for 2010-2012. The Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) responded to the governor’s statements by making it clear that the $150 million program will have little impact on the terrible condition of the state’s roads.
“While we applaud the governor’s acknowledgment that our roads need an emergency cash infusion, this small amount of money won’t even begin to make a difference for drivers out there who are dodging dangerous potholes every day,” said Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. “We need a minimum of $1 billion a year just to keep up with current pavement conditions.”
In addition to concerns with the size of the proposed fix, the MTT has expressed grave concerns over trying to fix the roads by borrowing more money.
“It’s like putting your mortgage payment on your credit card every month,” said Nystrom. “We already spend over 20 percent of our annual road funds to pay for previously-borrowed money. It’s time for state policymakers to stop mortgaging our future with this ‘pave today, pay tomorrow’ mentality.”
Motorists hoping for relief this spring from what has been touted as the worst pothole season in history will be disappointed. The state is in the midst of massive cuts to the state’s road and bridge program due to declining gas tax revenues and the end of the state’s Jobs Today bonding program. The 2008 MDOT program has dropped over $300 million -- or 18 percent – this year. Meanwhile, just a few weeks ago Gov. Granholm announced a task force and advisory committee to study the issue of long-term transportation funding, with the first report not due until October 31st of this year.
“Term-limited policymakers have proven that they tend to legislate by crisis. It is clear that the state of our transportation network is now at this point and we would encourage them to not only fix the immediate problem but also provide a long-term fix to this burgeoning crisis,” Nystrom said.
“State policymakers don’t need an eight month-long study to tell us what drivers already know. Road conditions have gotten to the point of being dangerous and we need a fix now,” Nystrom said.
MTT is a broad-based bipartisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens working to improve Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. The Drive MI 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.