MDOT Predicts $44 Billion Funding Shortfall
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Posted by: Nancy Brown
Transportation leaders today renewed their call for a gas tax increase on the heels of MDOT’s projection of a $44 billion funding shortfall that could severely hamper its capacity to maintain, fix and expand roads and bridges over the next two decades.
Under current state and federal funding formulas, Michigan will fall far short of the necessary funding to meet all its transportations needs unless it develops a new revenue stream dedicated to 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, or will not be, enough money in the coffers to ensure Michigan has safe, well-maintained roads and bridges in the short-run or over the long-haul,” said Mike Nystrom, vice-president of government and public relations for Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and co-chair of Michigan’s Transportation Team.
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.
MITA has been part of a chorus of groups and individual transportation leaders calling for the development of a transportation funding strategy that will save drivers their hard-earned dollars and keep down the cost of vehicle wear-and-tear due to unsuitable and unsafe roads.
“Poor roads cost Michigan travelers $7 billion annually in the form of traffic accidents, lost time and wasted fuel and additional vehicle operating costs,” Nystrom said.
Earlier this year, MITA unveiled a comprehensive plan for a dedicated and sustainable funding stream to make roads and bridges throughout Michigan safer, repair deteriorating streets and relieve traffic congestion in rapidly growing communities.
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 is tied for 30th in the nation.
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.