WILX TV Lansing: Road Budget Not Settled
Thursday, September 18, 2008
State lawmakers have reached a stalemate over the transportation budget and that could cripple Michigan's economy. The holdup? A battle over a proposal for a new international bridge crossing in Detroit. One side wants the project to be privately owned, the other wants a publicly owned crossing. Without a quick compromise, taxpayers will lose out.
"We'll have to shut down everything on October 1st," said MDOT Spokesman Bill Shreck.
A shutdown eerily familiar to last year, with dire consequences once again saysl Shreck. He says thousands could be out of work.
"Over 2,000 in the contruction field would be out while we don't have a budget. About 2,750 of our employees will be off until we have a budget."
Nearly 5,000 paychecks out of the economy, not to mention the federal funding lost for road projects.
"For every dollar we lose, thats $4 we could have matched and brought into the state."
A shutdown could cost more than $600,000, with millions lost in federal matching. It could also push back crucial projects to next construction season.
"If we shut down right before our peak push, it could be a real problem," said Mike Nystrom of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
He says some contractors are already feeling the pinch.
"They're going elsewhere to find work, out of the state. They're having to layoff people, which further cripples our economy here in Michigan."
Lawmakers have set a September 26th deadline for an agreement before steps would have to be taken for a shutdown on the first.
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