OKEMOS, Mich. — Michigan’s transportation system may annually lose $157.8 million in funding and an estimated 7,495 jobs because Congress has still failed to pass the 2007 transportation appropriations bill. In addition to the proposed cuts at the federal level, Michigan already faces an estimated $700 million annual shortfall for state managed roads and an additional $2 billion shortfall for local roads. The Michigan Department of Transportation also recently released its five-year plan, which included a first-ever funding gap of $130 million.
“After failing to pass a transportation appropriations bill in 2006, the federal highway and transit program stands to lose nearly $4 billion in funding increases for FY 2007,” said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations at the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA). “This further exacerbates a problem that is already at a critical level.”
Under SAFETEA-LU, the federal highway and transit bill enacted in 2005, Congress and the President authorized federal investment levels of $39.1 billion for highways and $9 billion for transit in Fiscal Year 2007. At the end of 2006, having not passed the appropriations bill, Congress passed a continuing resolution that keeps federal spending at the lower Fiscal Year 2006 levels until February 2007.
“It is critical that our representatives and senators in Congress understand the impact that not fully funding SAFETEA-LU will have on Michigan’s transportation system,” said Nystrom. “We have long been a donor state and this will only further deplete our ability to keep pace with the demand of our crumbling infrastructure.”
As transportation-related revenues continue to decline and construction material costs continue to rise, funding gaps at the state and local level are expected to grow.
“Cuts to federal highway dollars will do nothing to help the federal budget deficit.” Nystrom said. “This funding comes from user fees that have already been collected and deposited in the federal Highway Trust Fund, which is dedicated to transportation-related expenses. These cuts would lead to further delays on critical projects that are necessary to improve safety and reduce congestion right here in Michigan.”