This Michigan winter has been exceptionally awful, with record-breaking low temperatures and snowfall totals approaching the all-time record. Such harsh weather conditions have taken a considerable toll on the state’s roads. Poor road quality has affected the health and pocketbooks of Michigan drivers. Michigan’s legislature is introducing a mid-fiscal year supplemental budget that will allocate $215 million to repairing roads. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder can and should alleviate the dangerous conditions by signing the budget.

The budget was passed Tuesday in the state House and Senate. $100 million will be spent on general road maintenance and $115 million will be set aside for road projects specified by various legislators.

The pockmarked roads throughout the state have caused a number of serious and fatal injuries to drivers, and failing to fix roads is endangering Michigan residents. In February, the Michigan Townships Association released a statement saying that “One-third of all fatal and serious traffic accidents are at least partly due to poor road conditions and roadway design.” The MTA also claimed that improving roads could save up to 1,000 lives over the span of 10 years. Maintaining the quality of Michigan roads is not only a matter of improving driving conditions, but a case of saving lives.

Video from MDOT: “Reality Check #1”

Michigan citizens pay the sixth-highest gasoline tax rate in the nation yet the state is unable to keep the roads in acceptable condition. The average vehicle owner in Michigan pays an additional $357 per year on vehicle repairs such as flat tires, shock and strut replacements, and on repairs stemming from accidents caused by the state’s poor road conditions. In areas such as Metro Detroit — where more than half of the roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition — motorists spend $536 more in unnecessary vehicle repairs. Taxpayers are already paying for the upkeep of the roads and their vehicles. It’s ridiculous that motorists should be subjected to further costs due to the state’s lack of road repair.

Michigan comes in dead last in per capita spending on roads and bridges annually at $154. If the state had been utilizing more funds to maintain the roads before the current winter — one of Michigan’s worst winters in years — the roads would not be in such extreme deteriorated conditions. Currently, 32 percent of the roads in Michigan are ranked in poor condition. It has been estimated that the number will increase to 65 percent if the problem isn’t addressed. An aggressive investment in road infrastructure now will help save both drivers and the state money in the future.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.