Where does Michigan find the money to fix its roads?
The Michigan Department of Transportation Director paid a visit to Grand Traverse County today to talk about future transportation funding for Michigan.
MDOT Director, Kirk Steudle, gave a presentation with key points on the current and future road conditions, and ways to help improve them.
"Today we are here talking about the need for transportation investment," said Steudle. "And the Governor laid out in the State of the State Address that we can either pay now, or pay later."
Steudle explained that the costs to make minor improvements on roads now would be far less expensive, compared to what it would cost to repair them when they have major issues further down the road.
"Where we've been, how we've got here, what today looks like, and what the future looks like, and the fact of the matter is, we haven't made any significant investments or changes since 1997," said Steudle. "And if we continue on this same path, we're going to end up passing off a huge infrastructure deficit to the next generation."
Members of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission were at the meeting, and had their own concerns for the area.
"We're fortunate enough to live in Grand Traverse County, one of the most beautiful places in the State of Michigan," said Jim Cook, for the Grand Traverse County Road Commission. "But yet if you look at our roads, it just doesn't support that idea at all."
Cook referred to the many pot holes and failing roads scattered throughout the area.
"Grand Traverse County is not the only ones but we do have 12-hundred miles of road that we have to maintain and just like other counties, we don't have enough funds to maintain what we have."
That was a main concern for the majority of attendees at the meeting too. Director Steudle had some ideas on ways to help increase the funds.
"I think it's really coming down to two issues," said Steudle. "A whole sale tax on fuel, maybe a sales tax or change of the sales tax structure. That one in particular would require a vote of the people. So I do think it's coming to a closer consensus of that we have to do something, and this is going to be a very tough vote for the legislatures. It's a tough vote for the Governor to stand up and say we need to fix this, but it's leadership that says, we need to address this problem for Michigan's future and we're not going to kick the can down the road."