It’s time to just fix the roads
It’s no secret – and it’s no joke. Michigan roads are among the worst in the nation. It’s time to turn up the volume on one of Michigan’s most avoided issues: transportation funding.
Michigan drivers don’t need another public policy debate or economic study to tell them how bad Michigan roads are. They already know because they drive them, day in and day out. They know that every pothole, every traffic jam, every closed bridge means more money out of their pockets – $357 a year for every driver in Michigan.
You know the story all too well:
- Michigan is losing $3 million each day in lost maintenance and increased wear and tear on our roads and bridges. That’s $1.095 billion a year.
- Michigan’s roads are consistently ranked among the worst in the nation.
- We are compromising safety every single day we fail to act: one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes are due at least in part to poor road conditions.
- Michigan’s gas tax – the user fee that is the primary source of transportation funding – hasn’t been touched since 1997. Added to that is a serious drop in the actual buying power of that revenue.
- The six percent sales tax on gasoline does not go to fix our roads; instead, it goes into the general fund.
- Efficiency has increased dramatically but it will never close the gap between need and decreasing funding levels.
- The cost of meaningful fixes is going to spiral out of control.
- Moving products in and out of Michigan is increasingly costly – an economic burden on a state trying desperately to climb out of the recession.
Unless we quit using our transportation system – our roads, bridges, train and bus systems – they are only going to get worse, literally crumbling beneath us or, in the case of overpasses with plywood fixes, falling down on us. The reality is that failing to fix our roads is penny-wise and pound foolish. Even Tea Party supporters agree that fixing our roads is the fiscally conservative thing to do; ignoring them is folly.
We don’t have Democratic roads or Republican roads; we have MICHIGAN roads – and they are in terrible shape. We elected our leaders to lead, and that means making the tough decisions that will continue to rebuild our state. We are counting on Governor Snyder and the Michigan legislature to step up and address the single most avoided problem in Michigan: transportation funding – and fully expect that Governor Snyder will lay the groundwork for the solution in his State of the State.
But laying the groundwork for the solution isn’t good enough. We need action, not just acknowledgement of the problem.
It’s time for the Governor and the Michigan Legislature to do one simple thing: just fix the roads.