MDOT Asking For More Road Money

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Drive just about anywhere in Michigan and you'll see the same problem-- crumbling roads.

"The legislature is hearing it from their constituencies and people are talking about it everywhere they go. So it's top of mind for people," said Jeff Cranson the Director of Communications.

MDOT is out with a new "transportation reality check video" dispelling misconceptions that the state doesn't know how to build or repair roads. It said the real problem is not enough money to keep up with failing infrastructure. Especially after a very rough winter.

Thursday about 10 crew members in Ingham County were repairing the roads. Now that temperatures are higher, they have switched to what's called "dura patch." Instead of weeks like the cold patch fixes provide, dura patch can last a couple of years.

When the workers are done, it looks like the road never had any problems-- but it will in two or three more years. The only real fix is repaving-- but that costs money.

"If we all kicked in ten cents a gallon for a couple years, maybe we could all help. I know everybody figures we pay enough taxes, but sometimes maybe you just got to reach down and give a little more," said Mark Betcher of Lansing.

That's the message MDOT and road departments across the state want people to realize. Still, not everyone wants to pay more.

"Considering the amount I drive, probably not, but if I was an average consumer I would be more likely to do [pay more]," said Andrew Scriver of Brighton. Scriver would be willing to pay more expect he drives 1,000 miles a week .

"The amazing story in Michigan is that we've managed to keep pace and hold the system together given the lack of investment," said Cranson. "The fact is Ohio spends a billion dollars more a year."

Ohio charges 10 cents more per gallon for its gas tax. Whereas Michigan charges 18 cents a gallon for gas and even less for diesel.

Road funding in Michigan has been flat for almost two decades.

Thursday Representative Wayne Schmidt, who Chairs the House Transportation Committee said most people want the government to do what it can without asking for more money. Rather than raising taxes and spending an additional 1-2 billion dollars as the Governor and state road associations have asked, the House is moving forward on a package of bills that would add $500 million towards roads.


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