$100 Million Helps Repair Roads After Rough Winter

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

"I feel like I am swerving all over the place and it's not good,"said Chris Nobach who works in Okemos.

Most drivers are like Nobach-- they're sick of the potholes, sick of swerving and sick of car repairs.

"My car, I just bought it last year, and we are going to have all sorts of problems coming up if I keep hitting [potholes], especially around the Okemos area where I work. There are a lot of issues around there. It's good to see the state addressing it," said Nobach.

The state is supplementing road budgets across the state with $100 million to help municipalities cover the money spent on plowing, salting, pothole repairs and overtime this winter.

"Our purchasing power has been diminishing every year so our program and our ability to deliver services, our ability to purchase material for maintenance has been decreasing every year," said Bill Conklin who manages the Ingham County Road Department.

Ingham County spent $160,000 more than it could on winter maintenance. Like most, it's very grateful to have the money, but because of the age of Michigan roads and their declining quality-- more needs to be done.

"Rather than looking at it in terms of whole miles of road that we are going to be able to pave, what we do is called 'skip paving,' where we pave the worse segments of roads. We don't even have sufficient budget to pave whole miles of road," said Conklin.

People around Michigan are noticing the difference, and it seems more and more folks are saying 'uncle'-- willing to pay more in taxes if it means a smoother ride.

"Where I'm driving to work everyday and I drive for a living," said Nobach. "It's something that is a big deal for me so I am clearly going to be willing to pay more taxes in order to take care of those things."

The money has to be used for winter maintenance. Cities and counties can't use the money for administration or overhead costs.

The state divides road money up systematically-- 39 percent goes to state roads, like I-96, M-43, and US 127. Another 39 percent goes to counties, and the remaining 22 percent always goes to cities, villages and townships.

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