New Mobile App Launched To Track Michigan's Worst Roads, Bridges. WILX.com
Friday, October 7, 2011
LANSING -- There's plenty of political and public consensus about Michigan's roads and bridges.
"Over 1,400 bridges that are structurally deficient," notes Keith Ledbetter with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
Republican state Rep. Paul Opsommer: "The state of Michigan could probably use somewhere between $900 million and $1 billion per year extra for infrastructure."
In other words, the state's transportation coffer is woefully underfunded.
And the results are evident. More than a third of the state's roads have been deemed in poor condition. A third of the bridges are in need of repair.
News 10 ventured under one such bridge Thursday -- the I-96 overpass of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in South Lansing. We found 10-pound slabs of concrete on the grond. They fell right from the bridge above, and could at any time come crashing down on an unsuspecting driver's car.
"This is very indicative, unfortunately, of what we face across the region and across the state," Ledbetter says.
Bad enough that MITA and the Michigan Transportation Team are launching a mobile application allowing residents to upload photos of dangerous potholes, roads or bridges -- and compete for $500 to the state's best-worst photo.
"It's alerting the Michigan public to what we see as deteriorating infrastructure," Ledbetter says, adding he hopes it'll inspire residents to urge their lawmakers for more spending on transportation.
It all begs the question: What's the state doing to fix the problem?
One solution offered is to take Michigan's 6 percent sales tax on gas -- and re-direct it to transportation.
"I do have a lot of support in talking to appropriations people in the House and the Senate to begin looking at moving that money back to roads, because it's actually a tax on gasoline," says Opsommer, who's chair of the House Transportation Committee.
Transportation groups like MITA and MTT are pushing for higher vehicle registration fees and a tax on the wholesale price of gas, because more fuel-efficient vehicles are eating into gas tax revenues.
Others have proposed installing computers along certain highways that would then send fees to frequent drivers.
Gov. Snyder is expected to give his ideas on shoring up the transportation-funding shortfall at the end of October.