The day after the Governor announced her Rebuilding Michigan plan, the State Transportation Commission (STC) approved the $3.5 billion bonding program. The program will add and expand 122 major new road projects and nearly double the amount available to fix state roads over the next five years, from $3.8 billion over five years to $7.3 billion in a newly revised five-year road construction plan the STC approved to accompany Rebuilding Michigan.
The revised program contains projects that are new to the program or are from the previously approved program in October 2019 that have either an accelerated construction year, changed scope, and/or changed funding source. For a list of projects in the revised five-year program please click here.
According to the Governor, the Rebuilding Michigan program objective is to rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure. In addition, this strategy allows the Michigan Department of Transportation to address key corridors and rebuild major segments of highly traveled interstates, such as I-69, I-75, and I-94, as well as several other busy freeways.
It is important to know that the Governor is using her executive authority to issue these bonds and it is being done without the approval of the Legislature. As a result, the revenue from the bonds can only be used on state roads and are not eligible to be spent on city, village or county roads. This was mentioned in her State of the State speech and in an opinion piece she wrote for the Detroit Free Press. In that article, the governor says, “My plan will address state roads and bridges in highly traveled and economically significant corridors, which is only part of the problem. I can’t fix local roads and bridges on my own. That will require the Republican-led Legislature to join me at the table to find a real, long-term solution to fix our local roads. I invite the Legislature to step up and get serious about a funding solution that will get it done, and soon.” to read the full article please click here.
The League’s efforts have begun in earnest to bring awareness to legislators that this is not a comprehensive solution and that cities and villages are being left behind. We are also actively pursuing and pushing for action by the Legislature to provide a sustainable new funding source to address the immediate and long-term needs of local road networks. Early indications based on the public comments of some legislators, and those that we have been able to meet with, are that this plan does not solve the problem and any plan they move forward will include funding for local roads.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0303.