Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave her second State of the State address last night, and, much like her first address, road funding was a major topic of discussion. After a year of failed negotiations with the Republican-controlled Legislature, the Governor decided to take matters into her own hands by using her Executive Authority (laid out in the Michigan Constitution) to sell transportation bonds to inject $3.5 billion of additional investment into the state’s transportation network over the next five years.
The Governor has the authority to do this through a simple vote of the state Transportation Commission. This morning, the Commission approved the Governor and MDOT’s proposal. No legislative approval is needed and this is certainly not the first time transportation bonds have been used for infrastructure investment. Both Governor Engler and Governor Granholm used this authority during their time in office.
In announcing the Rebuilding Michigan Program, MDOT leadership indicated that the approved bond proposal proceeds would focus on addressing the needs of key and high-volume trunkline corridors with the construction of longer life fixes (i.e. more reconstructions vs. rehabilitations).
The now approved Rebuilding Michigan Program projects that MDOT’s “new” 5-Year “Road and Bridge” program investments would grow to $7.3 billion from the current 5-Year “Road and Bridge” program investment level of $3.9 billion.
In their presentation to the State Transportation Commission, MDOT projected that their “revised” annual Road and Bridge program construction dollar investments would be (millions):
Previous 5-YR Plan
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
$577 $946 $801 $862 $672
Revised 5-YR Plan
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
$931 $2,124 $1,987 $1,354 $994
MDOT announced that 49 projects in the Rebuilding Michigan 2020-2024 Revised Five-Year Transportation Program Project List will be funded with new bond proceeds (23 shifted from traditional revenue sources to the bond program, 26 new projects funded by the bond program), while 73 new projects have been added to back-fill for those projects shifted into the bond program.
To view the Rebuilding Michigan 2020-2024 Revised Five-Year Transportation Program Project List (49 bond program projects are highlighted in yellow, 73 new projects are highlighted in blue), please click here.
This is not the long-term, sustainable solution that our state roads and bridges need, and the debate on finding that solution will continue. Because this only applies to state roads, local roads will continue to deteriorate and will be pressed for a need to invest. MITA will continue to push the legislature on finding a long-term solution to our road funding problem.
Visit fixmistate.org to stay engaged in the debate.