Taking photos of broken bridges, crumbling overpasses and giant potholes could earn Michigan residents $500. A new iPhone app put out by a Michigan transportation group gives drivers the ability to upload photos of roads in need of repair.
The best photos uploaded through the Danger on Our Roads app will be put into a contest by Michigan’s Transportation Team, a group of local business, government and labor organizations that push for infrastructure improvements.
Facebook users will vote for the winning photo on the group’s home page Nov. 22 through 29.
Once the results are tallied, the Michigan Transportation Team will award the winner $500.
“We’re trying to be creative in getting drivers across the state engaged in notifying our elected state officials about the problems with our transportation system,” said Mike Nystrom, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association Vice President.
Decreased funding for transportation caused by budget cuts, increased fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of carpools is a challenge for improving roads around the state, Nystrom said.
“Our system is falling apart and yet we don’t have the money coming in,” he said.
Portage freshman Ryan Jankowiak said he feels the impact of Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure.
“The roads in my hometown are in pretty good shape, but driving down I-94 is always a pain because there’s always construction,” he said.
Jankowiak said he was unsure if he would participate in the contest.
“It sounds good, but I probably wouldn’t do it,” he said.
Byron Center freshman Colin Ludema agreed.
“I definitely would download the app if I had an iPhone but I feel like I’d forget,” he said. “It’s a good idea, though, since Michigan roads definitely have their problems.”
Nystrom said the most infrastructure problems come out of metro areas, especially Detroit and local roads that are often neglected.
“There are roads all across the state that need fixing,” Nystrom said.
Although the state faces many infrastructure and road problems, Nystrom said he is confident action will be taken to address the crisis.
He said he is hopeful Gov. Rick Snyder’s infrastructure plan, due later this month, will address the state’s problems.
“Hopefully the governor’s address will spark a discussion on solutions,” Nystrom said. “There has been near universal recognition that something has to be done, but the willingness to step up has been lacking.”