MITA in the News – 5/31-6/7


See how your area Michigan road conditions rate from 1 to 10 (MLive, 6/4/24)


Work Zone Safety

Keeping people safe on both sides of the barrel: A new bill wants to keep people aware of work zone speeds (FOX 47, 6/3/24)

  • MITA Mention: Rob Coppersmith is the head of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and is one of the spearheads for construction zone safety… [Full interview in article]

More lanes to close on Southfield Freeway due to Michigan’s new work zone safety law (CBS Detroit, 6/6/24)



Other states give a glimpse of a new tax Michigan drivers might pay in future (The Detroit News, 6/6/24) ATTACHED

Expert from Utah visits Lansing to discuss road usage charges (WILX, 6/6/24)

Report: More money needed to fix Michigan roads (WZZM 13, 6/6/24)

Michigan considers Road Usage Charge, taxing vehicle mileage over fuel (WWMT, 6/5/24)

20% Of Utah’s EV Drivers Use Miles Travelled Tax (MIRS, 6/5/24) ATTACHED

Projects Draw & Keep Jobs, Proponents Claim (MIRS, 5/31/24)


(MACKINAC ISLAND) – The organizations that build infrastructure in Michigan put a plea to the state government for funding to keep jobs in the state during the Detroit Regional 2024 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan Department of Transportation Director Brad WIEFERICH and Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association Executive Vice President Rob COPPERSMITH addressed a gathering in the Lilac Room saying the importance of infrastructure projects went beyond the critical economic means and into the area of good-paying jobs.

“I think our industry has an awesome workforce. I’m just fearful of losing it.” Coppersmith said.

He said if the funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Rebuilding Michigan Bonding program dried up in the next three years, the number of workers who were trained to meet the demand could be lost.

“We’re not going to lose them to other industries, we’re going to lose them to other states that have the work and then they don’t come back five, six years, or ever,” Coppersmith said.

Wieferich said MDOT was also seeing a labor shortage.

“We’re working very hard to try to engage with students, younger folks, to expose them to the industry,” he said.

He said he was told by his high school physics teacher that he should be an engineer and his thoughts went to driving trains.

“I didn’t even know really what a civil engineer did,” he said.
Coppersmith said the contractors were keeping up with the demand that was needed to keep the construction projects going.

“A lot of people wondered if the industry could meet the challenge of the IIJA dollars and the bonding money and we met it. We didn’t have any failures, all the jobs are getting done on time and done well,” he said.

He said the carrot for the industry was the pay.

Operating Engineers 324 President Ken DOMBROW said the union was also meeting the demand and had just had 500 apprentices join up.

He said they were seeing younger growth and the average age of the operators was bucking the national thread and headed down, not up.

“We try to make this a career and not a job. The last thing you want to do is expend all of these resources to train this person up and he gets this job on this road project and then there’s no more job,” Dombrow said.

He said it takes three years for an operator to go from a first-day apprentice to a journeyman in the trade.

The problem was the ever-present and decades-long funding, which was now being exacerbated by the drop in gas taxes from the fuel-efficient hybrids and electric vehicles.

“The focus has been here and some sort of solution, or long-term solution, to this funding issue that has been around forever. Nobody wants to fix it,” Dombrow said.