Delays of Scheduled Work
On May 5, 2010, the local evening news reported on the "delay" of scheduled road projects in Michigan. Those knowledgeable about the State of Michigan's road funding were not surprised. The current gas tax, which is 19 cents per gallon regardless of the fuel price, has only been adjusted once since 1984.
Federally-aided projects receive 80% of the construction cost for those states who can provide the remaining 20% local match. As our legislators have not acted to adjust our income, Michigan does not have the 20% local match money. That's why 2/3 of Michigan's anticipated road projects are not being done as scheduled.
Road Funding Bills
Late January/early February 2010, 2 bills to update Michigan's antiquated method of road funding were introduced through a bipartisan effort. Because these laws did not move forward, Michigan will literally loose billions of federal dollars as it does not have the finances to provide the required 20% local match now and for the foreseeable future. What happens to our 80%? It will fund road projects in someone's state.
Future Improvement Projects
With a new governor we look forward to see what changes may happen to improve the condition of our roads and how that work will be funded. At the March County Road Association of Michigan's annual conference, Governor Synder announced that it may be fall 2011 before he addresses this item.
A series of transportation bills were introduced on May 14, 2009, but were never implemented. Any and all improvements to the 1997 funding level are welcomed. Not many agencies could survive on a 13-year old budget that has steadily declined since that time. This is due in part to declining fuel sales of gas and diesel due to loss of population, more efficient cars, alternate fuels, and generally higher fuel costs.
In 2013, Governor Synder is expected to address road funding in his State of the State address. Stand by for news!