Disparities in Road Funding; Local Roads Left Out

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"Potholes.... they're horrible," one Lansing driver said Tuesday.

They're on everyone's mind these days, but they might just stick around longer than anyone had hoped.

"Everyday you hit a pothole you're reminded of the inequities of the system," Craig Thiel said.

Thiel is talking about the system in which the state of Michigan doles out more than a billion dollars a year to agencies that maintain roads.

"The formula used is based on miles and not the use of the roads," he said.

Thiel authored a Citizens Research Council of Michigan report that showcases the disparities in which rural counties benefit more than urban areas.

For example, Keweenaw County in the Upper Peninsula gets almost 14 cents per mile of road while Ingham County gets just 1.9 cents per mile. Wayne county... which includes Detroit... gets even less....just 1.6 cents per mile.

"The formula doesn't distinguish between a four lane road and a two lane road," Thiel said.

So small local roads with about a hundred cars a day gets the same amount of money as roads with thousands or millions of cars per day.

And even though Ingham County generates more tax revenue than Keweenaw... most money doesn't stay here.

"By and large the urban areas are sending tax revenue to other areas of the state, like rural areas," Thiel said.

The funding formula was created in 1951, when the state was looking for uniformity in the roads for safety reasons. But before funding can change, the legislature has to give the green light.

"Before we raise the revenue, let's talk about how we're spending it and if we're spending it in the most efficient fashion," he said.

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  • by Franklin54 Location: Holt on Feb 27, 2008 at 10:30 AM
    isnt it amazing that what Granholm whines about in Washington (Michigan not getting a fair return of its tax dollars) she does to her own counties? Sounds like hypocracy from the Gov Office, doesnt it?
  • by JEFF Location: Charlotte on Feb 27, 2008 at 06:32 AM
    My facts come from the Ingham County Road Commission web site.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 27, 2008 at 06:13 AM
    hey "JEFF", where do you get YOUR facts from? 1240 seems like a random number....
  • by JEFF Location: Charlotte on Feb 27, 2008 at 06:06 AM
    Ingham county has about 1240 miles of road. According to this story, they are getting $0.019 per mile. That means their budget for 2006 was $23.56. According to the Ingham County Road Commission web site, their 2007 budget was $20,460,000. This equates to $16,500 per mile of road. Better check your facts next time you do a story. Road funding is an important issue, but misinformation like this tends to politicize the issue in order to push the agenda of a specific interest group. A story with factual information would better serve the people of the state as a whole.
  • by tom Location: holt on Feb 27, 2008 at 04:57 AM
    1951 was a long time ago when so many things were differnt.but sounds right as prices have changed but gov wants money for other things.the proverty levels that deciede food stamps and income for the poor also hasn't been raised for yrs to supply the right amounts people recieve.so it's causing much hunger and serious problems for many.there's area the gov just don't want to raise amounts of,or think it will be alright.the economy is getting worse,many things are not being funded in the proper manner.but raising taxes to cover this or that just would be so foolish.but mich don't have enough jobs comming in and need to fix it so jobs will.roads and so many things just get worse.county to county varries in so many ways on there incomes,due to so many things.but before long the counties all over mich will be without so much.we need jobs to raise money for the state.people are suffering in many ways,as gas goes up more,wages don't.can't fix roads without money.or live without money.
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