Michigan budget proposals include more money to fix city and county roads

WILX News, May 3, 2023

LANSING, Mich. (WILX/Gray Michigan State Capitol Bureau) – Michigan counties and cities could soon get more money to fix the roads.

And road agencies said they’re hoping this is just the beginning. That’s because you don’t have to go too far in Michigan before you find a street riddled with potholes. And drivers are sick of it.

“When you patch stuff up when you patch it up, it doesn’t last. So then you have to do the construction all over again,” said Velzonia Spencer.

State lawmakers are expected to send at least $150 million dollars to cities and counties to cover construction.

It’s money Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs Lance Binoniemi said is desperately needed.

“The past five years we haven’t increased any revenues for our local roads and as they deteriorate we need to invest more,” said Binoniemi.

Binoniemi said even though this is one-time funding, it can be transformational for many communities.

“With the money, we’re getting through the stimulus package from the federal government, the extra money from the infrastructure and jobs act, that have come out of the feds as well,” said Binoniemi.

This doesn’t fix the long-term problem, especially since studies show Michigan needs to spend nearly $4 billion more to fix all roads in the state.

It’s going to only get worse as fewer drivers will pay the gas tax as electric vehicles become more popular.

“There’s going to have to be an adjustment in how we bring in revenue. But the bottom line is it’s been years that we have been under-funding roads,” said Sen. Veronica Klinefelt, (D) Eastpointe.

Either way, Spencer just wants to see fewer potholes.

“It is an embarrassment if it is not getting fixed,” said Spencer.

The road budget proposal also includes money for a bridge bundling program.

It’’s a new program allowing local road agencies to go in with the state to bring the price of bridge repairs down.