The Legislature got a bit of a surprise in boxes last week when a state construction trade group hand-delivered pieces of pavement collected from beneath state and local bridges across Michigan.
All state senators, representatives and Gov. Jennifer Granholm received the chunks.
I got one too (as did other media folks). It’s a frighteningly large piece – as big as the chunks that fell from the Groesbeck overpass above I-696 back in March, damaging several cars but luckily injuring no one.
The gesture may have been lost amid ongoing battles over the state budget, but its intent was clear: Michigan’s roads and other infrastructure are crumbling.
“It’s a wake up call to the Legislature to recognize that the infrastructure needs in our state are dramatic, and they need to do something about it sooner rather than later,” said Mike Nystrom, spokesman for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, a trade group representing road, utility and other construction trades. “If they wait, it’ll be even more costly in the future.”
MITA notes that even as the state struggles to keep up with bridge repair and replacement, the Michigan Department of Transportation anticipates decreases in road funding over the next few years in part because of declining gas tax revenues.