Lawmakers' $215M Deal Paves Way for Pothole Repairs, Construction

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After weeks of haggling over the dollar amount, Michigan lawmakers Wednesday approved an extra $215 million for roads, partly to help local governments grappling with winter costs.

The deal includes $100 million for potholes on the state's winter-ravaged roads, along with $115 million for construction project across the state which won't be doled out until legislators can meet with MDOT.

"We've got road agencies that don't have salt and can't afford to salt and paying more for plowing, it was imperative that we got funding through to help our road agencies," said Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

But the $215 million coupled with what's projected to be the worst pothole season on record is a far cry from the more than $1 billion Gov. Snyder has said is needed to properly fund and maintain the state's roads.

"It should not deflect us from understanding that this will not make our roads better," said Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw.

"It just slows them down from getting worse... it's better than a poke in the eye but it isn't a new eye."

In Ingham county where they've plowed and salted through about 80 percent of the budget, the extra cash is a welcome start.

"That's a big help to us," said Bill Conklin, director with the Ingham County Road Department, who said the county expects to receive about $795,000 from the state as part of the deal.

"I want to emphasize it restores us to how we were before the heavy winter and the heavy pothole seasons, it does not significantly raise the general level of our road conditions," he said.

Meanwhile, Clinton county is in line to receive about $390,000, while Eaton county should get about $490,000.

Of the $100 million allotted for potholes and maintenance, roughly $30 million will go to the state, $40 million to counties and the remaining roughly $20 million will go to cities and townships, according to Senate Fiscal Agency data.

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