State business leaders ask government to fix roads fast

Several Michigan business leaders called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers to deliver...
Several Michigan business leaders called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers to deliver on campaign promise of fixing the state's roads. (WILX)
Published: Aug. 20, 2019 at 5:37 PM EDT
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Michigan's roads are a lot like a stoplight; like a driver pulling into an intersection with a yellow light, Michigan’s business leaders say the state's legislation is running out of time to fix them.

"This issue is really all about moving Michigan forward,” said Rich Studley, President and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. ”We're encouraging and supporting lawmakers to do the right thing and we're going to stand with them when they do that. Those that don't will have a lot of explaining to do to motorists who are tired of bad roads."

As the years go by, Michigan’s roads get worse, and the state is falling behind trying to fix them.

"More roads are falling from good to fair and from fair to poor than we're able to improve," said Monica Ackerson, Executive Vice President of the Michigan Road Preservation Association.

And even the one point two billion dollar road funding package signed by then governor Rick Snyder in 2015 won't be enough to reverse that trend.

"The governor has stated that the price is about $2.5 billion today. In a few years, that will be $3.5 billion,” said Ackerson. “It's really a situation of pay me now, or pay me much more later. If we don't get the money in now, those costs will just continue to increase.”

Ackerson says every one dollar spent now fixing roads saves six to 14 dollars down the road.

With the legislation set to resume session next week, she and other leaders are expecting they'll be ready to find a solution.

"We hope that they're ready to roll up their sleeves, get to work and come up with a plan that can be implemented and passed with this budget proposal that will fix our roads," Ackerson said.

That state budget with the long-term plan to fix those roads, must be passed by the legislature by October 1st.

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