Lansing, MI - Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Paul C. Ajegba told an audience in suburban Grand Rapids Monday that, without significant investment, 40 percent of Michigan's major highways will be in poor condition in three years.
"This is simple. The longer we wait, the more it will cost to restore our roads and bridges," Ajegba said.
At a town hall hosted by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township, Ajegba presented the road-funding component of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget and the goal to shore up the state's schools, roads and bridges.
Ajegba cited three fundamental arguments in support of the governor's roads proposal:
- Safety. If we don't invest, more bridges will be closed and the risk to drivers will only increase.
- Transparency and quality. The department will assure that contractors are using the best materials and practices and explain what is being done and why.
- Fixing roads instead of vehicles. This plan will cut down on the need for costly road fixes later, while also reducing costs to repair vehicles damaged by failing infrastructure.
Ajegba reminded the audience that the American Society of Civil Engineers 2018 report card gave Michigan a D- grade for the condition of the state’s roads. He said the governor's proposal, a 45-cent per-gallon fuel tax the governor has proposed to phase in 15 cents at a time every six months beginning in October, would greatly improve pavement condition. By 2029, 90 percent of roads under state control would be in good or fair condition.