Stop Sign for Some Construction Projects?

By: John Tramontana
By: John Tramontana

There may not be as many orange barrels on the sides of the road in the next few years. That's because the Michigan Department of Transportation is facing a $130 million budget crisis.

"We just have to wait and see what happens," said M-DOT communications director Bill Shreck. "Either costs have to go down or revenues have to go up. There may be a possibility that a project needs to be delayed. It happens on occasion."

That's a step the organization is trying to avoid. The rising costs of asphalt, steel, and concrete are making roads more expensive to build.

"The prices have been going up dramatically with those products and those are the primary products we use in road building," said road construction spokesman Mike Nystrom.

Nystrom says rising fuel costs haven't helped either. A large portion of transportation revenues come from the gas tax which is 19 cents per gallon, regardless of how much the price increases.

With more people conserving fuel, the money for the state just isn't there.

"It's simple economics," Nystrom said. "The fewer gallons that are purchased, the fewer revenues we have to fix our roads."

M-DOT says it will continue on with projects as scheduled in hopes the legislature can find a high to scrounge up $130 million dollars.


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