State officials survey crumbling Michigan roads

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — It is a decade long discussion that has intensified in Lansing in the last year — how to fix the states crumbling roads.

With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second State of the State address just more than a week away, that conversation is sure to be ramped up even more.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and MDOT officials surveyed freeways and other roadways in varying stages of their “life cycle.”

The conclusions they came away with is no surprise.

There are a lot of roads in West Michigan and all over the state that need to be repaired. On that, even most politicians agree on the repair, just not on how to pay for it.

According to Art Green, the MDOT Transportation Service Center Manager in Grand Rapids, many older roads should be rebuilt from the base up. He says as roads age and repairs are more frequent, it’s really about the return on your investment each time you have to repair it.

“That investment of say 20 or 25% of what it costs originally, that many frequent times adds up to the need to replace the section” he says.

The Governor’s plan to meet the need, raising gas taxes by 45 cents per gallon, hit with a thud last year, but the Lt. Governor says they will be back with another plan soon.

“We put forward a real concrete plan to fix the roads and because the legislature, the Republican Legislature, did not put a real plan on the table, they did not take serious action, so now it’s our responsibility and you’re going to see these plans very soon,” Gilchirst said.

And while the plan may be new, the opposition may not be as expressed by Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield on this week’s “To The Point.”

“I will not have a conversation about new taxes. I will not have the conversation about new bonds and taking on debt as a state until we ensure that every penny that’s paid in taxes at the pump is a penny that goes toward roads. That’s common-sense Rick, and that’s what mostly every state in the country does.”

The governor delivers her State of the State address on Jan. 29th, and it’s likely we’ll learn more about her plan then.