roads

Governor Rick Snyder still can’t build a bridge between a union and a construction trade association to end a roadwork stoppage across the state.

David Cassleman

President Donald Trump’s plan to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure hasn’t gone anywhere yet. 

Earlier this year, Trump proposed investing $1.5 trillion in the nation’s roads, bridges and other systems. However, only a fraction of the money would come from the federal government in the plan. Instead, most would come from state and local governments. 

 


David Cassleman

Michigan’s roads are falling apart.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a D- letter grade for the condition of its roads in a report released last month.

Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation recently joined Stateside to answer your questions about our roads.

It turns out, you had a lot of questions.

Lawmakers in Lansing want to put 175 million dollars toward the state’s roads. The state House passed the spending bill Wednesday.

Governor Rick Snyder initially proposed a similar spending bump for the next budget cycle. But lawmakers say the potholes and crumbling roads need to be addressed as soon as possible. They want the money available in time for construction season.

As much of the nation focused on testimony last Thursday from former FBI Director James Comey, there were some who headed to the White House to talk infrastructure with the President and Vice President.

Among the group of some 40 officials was Candice Miller, former congresswoman and now Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

As the face of Michigan during the White House meeting, Miller delivered a message about “handicaps and restrictions” that cost money and time on infrastructure investment.

As the summer road construction season moves into its final weeks, you might find yourself wondering: instead of pouring time and money into patching roads that crack every year during the winter, why not make better concrete?

Aaron Selbig

There’s a new plan to fix Division Street in Traverse City. The street has long been considered one of the most dangerous routes in northern Michigan, especially for people walking or biking.

Four years ago, voters agreed to give up some city park land for the project. Now the plan is in the hands of the city commission.

Traverse City Commissioner Gary Howe says the section of the road between 14th Street and the bay is confusing and dangerous.

    

A late-night deal to fund road repair, construction and other transportation issues barely passed the Michigan House on Tuesday. After years of stalled debate, deals gone nowhere and a voter-rejected referendum, Governor Snyder is now reviewing a bill that partly solves the road funding question in Michigan.

Michigan Public Radio Network reporter Jake Neher explains the ins and outs of the bill in the interview above. 

There were feelings of optimism earlier this week in Lansing that the state Senate might just pass a road funding plan the House passed the week before.

But, once again, that optimism has fallen flat, as the House adjourned without a vote after about eight hours of discussion.

A Minute with Mike: The Oracle

Jun 2, 2015

I've dusted off the old 8-ball Ouija-tron to find out what's happening in future Michigan.

Dateline: Lansing, December 2034

In what some describe as a desperate move, state officials will sell the naming rights to Michigan highways and byways as a way to generate money for road repair.

Lawmakers were proud to introduce the Roads Ain't Cheap Act.

The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

Aaron Selbig

Division Street in Traverse City has long been considered one of the most dangerous roadways in the area. State transportation planners are working on a fix for the street. After collecting input from the public last year, the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to unveil several alternatives next month.

One way to prevent accidents might come from redesigning road signs. 

Proposal 1 is the road funding proposal that will be up for a vote on May 5th. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has long expressed their support for a road funding solution, but they are staying neutral on the proposal.

In the very final hours of lame duck last December, state lawmakers slapped together a complicated road funding package that is proposal one, which citizens will be voting on in May.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation to raise $1.2 billion to repair roads. But, the money all depends on voters approving a tax hike.

One of the bills signed by the governor will guarantee that all state taxes paid at the pump will go to roads. Increasing the sales tax by a penny on every dollar to 7 percent would ensure schools, local governments and mass transit don’t lose money. A sales tax increase requires a statewide vote.

Division Street options to be unveiled by March

Dec 9, 2014
Aaron Selbig

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to come up with three alternatives to fix Division Street in Traverse City. The department held an open house Tuesday night to gather input on what should be done to improve safety and efficiency on the busy road.

Planner Patty O’Donnell said MDOT received all kinds of feedback from the public.

“It’s not bicycle friendly; pedestrians can’t cross,” said O’Donnell. “We’ve also heard from the neighborhoods, ‘Do not do anything that will make the people come through our neighborhoods.’”

We've heard plenty during this campaign season about school funding, pension taxes, and outside money, but the Michigan Chamber of Commerce would like there to be more focus on the state of our roads

Rich Studley is the executive director of the Chamber. He says there are just a few legislative sessions after the election and before the end of the year, so there’s not much time to pass legislation to fix the roads.

This is the last week the state Legislature is scheduled to meet before the November election. Lawmakers probably won’t take up any controversial bills until their “lame duck” session in December.

Supporters of legislation to add LBGT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law are still optimistic lawmakers will pass it before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty heartened by the openness that (state House Speaker Jase Bolger) has shown to us in having those discussions,” said Shelli Weisberg with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The top Democrat in the state House says a road funding solution will probably have to wait until after the November election.

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says too many lawmakers are not willing to make the tough vote until they’re past their reelection bids. That’s because boosting infrastructure spending by more than a billion dollars a year would likely mean raising taxes to pay for it.

“I think there’s a very high likelihood that it doesn’t occur until lame duck, unfortunately,” said Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, on an appearance over the weekend on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

Michigan will receive is $115 million in special state funding this year for 124 specific road projects in certain districts.  This includes 38 projects in the metro Detroit region.

Crain’s Business Reporter Chris Gautz said most of the money will go to districts that are represented by Republicans, and about $41 million went to some districts represented by Democrats.

“For somebody in another part of the state that isn’t getting any money -- maybe if they are represented completely by Democrats -- they’re not going to see anything and they are wondering why their roads aren’t as important,” Gautz said.

Click here for a full list of the projects.

Guatz said there will also be about $1.5 million dollars for the Secretary of State’s office to help combat insurance fraud. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

There was much anger and disappointment last month when state lawmakers failed to figure out a way to fund badly needed road repairs before leaving for their summer break.

And now there's road funding trouble ahead in Washington, D.C. Federal gas taxes go into the Federal Highway Trust Fund. The money is handed out to states in the form of road construction payments.

Michigan gets more than $1 billion a year from the trust fund. But that could come to a screeching halt before the summer is out.

Mlive's Jonathon Oosting wrote that the fund is running low due to declining fuel tax revenue, and could be fully depleted by late August or September.

“The federal government is already making plans to scale back payments to states such as Michigan, if Congress doesn’t figure out a way to replenish this fund,” Oosting said.

The fund is not collecting as much money as it used to from gas taxes, as people are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, or opting out of driving in favor of public transportation.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Attempts in the Legislature to come up with more than $1 billion a year to fix roads fell apart late Wednesday night. After about 15 hours of trying to pass proposals to fix the roads, the Senate went home after midnight with no deal.

Lawmakers in that chamber rejected a plan asking voters to approve a one percent sales tax increase that would go to roads. Another bill to boost the state’s gasoline tax also never got enough support to pass.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol over road funding may have resurrected the controversy over Michigan’s right-to-work law.

There’s a lot of deal-making happening in Lansing as the Legislature enters the final days before its summer recess. The two biggest issues are finishing the state budget, and coming up with more than $1.2 billion new dollars a year for roads – Governor Rick Snyder’s top priority before lawmakers leave Lansing.

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