By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
Every year when the weather changes from winter to spring, potholes become more and more prevalent. They damage cars and cause serious hazards for many populated roads. In a state that has one of the worst reputations for roads, Meridian Township is no different. For Jeff Liska, the potholes are a burden, but he understands it’s because of where he lives. “The roads are terrible,” the Okemos resident said.
By Alexander Smith
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s signing of a $1.2 billion road funding package in 2015 is good news for Michigan’s roads. Most notably, the package will raise the fuel tax and the cost of vehicle registration to put toward road repair. For Lansing’s streets, those repairs are long overdue. “They’re okay, they could use some improvement though,” said Preston Nowsch, 22. “I know every day coming down Grand River, I have to be in a particular lane to miss out on a pothole.”
Lansing adopted the Pavement Surface Evaluation & Rating System in 2002 to grade local roads.
By Alexander Smith
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Road salt is one of the state’s top tools to keep cars on the road during winter, but for how much longer? In Lansing, it’s still an important tool in the city’s snow removal program. “Generally speaking, we’ll apply salt down to maybe 10 degrees, then we’ll apply what’s called a sand-salt mix, because salt will not react if the temperature gets too cold,” said Public Service Director Chad Gamble. “It’ll just be rocks on the roadway, which is no good.”
Gamble said even though some streets are left unsalted, major plow operations use 200 to 300 tons of the sand-salt mix. “We don’t apply salt to all 400 miles of neighborhood streets, it’s somewhat of a waste of money,” said Gamble.
On Feb. 2, every member of the Meridian Township board agreed to pass Zoning Amendment 15080. This revision to the existing street tree ordinance will see the addition of more trees on the sides of many major roads in the township, as well as ensure the preservation of existing street trees. One purpose of this zoning amendment is to reduce traffic speeds on some major roads, without changing the speed limit. “The goal is to make the roads safer by calming and reducing traffic speeds,” said Director of Community Planning and Development Mark Kieselbach.
By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter
They say there are two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. In Michigan it might be safe to add a third: deteriorating roads. The condition of roads continues to worsen across the state and the nation, and lawmakers have pondered ways to fix the problem. The Michigan Department of Transportation published a reality check about the condition of Michigan’s roads. The report produced by MDOT showed that from 2004-2012 the amount of roads in good and fair condition has decreased.
By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
Roads around Clinton County are beginning to thaw as the winter season fades away, and so the reappearance of cracks, potholes and the struggle to find the money to fix them returns. Clinton County resident Beth Klein is unhappy with the conditions of the roads, and believes more funding should be available to fix them. “I think they could use improvement they are pretty busted up,” Klein said. “As far as the road repair…I think that is more dependent on state funding and actually repairing rather than patching.”
Although residents may be frustrated, it is more complicated than going out and simply repairing entire roads, explains Dan Armentrout the director of engineering at the Clinton County Road Commission. Not all fixes can be universally used on any type of road.
Today, voters across the state will be asked to increase the sales tax that customers pay at the register, this time as a part of funding package for maintenance of the state’s roads known as Proposal 1. Voters in Michigan passed a similar ballot question over 15 years ago, in 1994, in order to pay for a school-funding reform package. The two ballot proposals differ greatly though, because of another contrasting detail, aside from what the money was being used for. In 1994, the ballot didn’t really raise taxes, according to Lansing public relations executive John Truscott. Truscott said the 1994 proposal, known as Proposal A, came after lawmakers reduced property taxes and voted to replace the lost revenue with an income tax increase.
By Emma-Jean Bedford
and Ian Wendrow
Listen Up, Lansing
LANSING-The question on everyone’s mind lately has been: “What’s happening with these roads?” But it’s not just roads that are troublesome. Lansing has recently been dealing with issues related to low residential population, a distinct lack of diverse businesses, and overall deteriorating infrastructure. An effort to address infrastructure funding is currently on the upcoming May 5 ballot, titled Proposal 1. Proposal 1 is a ballot initiative meant to raise funds, mostly for new road work, through changes in taxes. If passed, the House Fiscal Agency, a non-partisan agency within the House of Representatives that analyzes the financial effects of Michigan legislation, estimates that the tax increase would raise about $2.1 billion this fiscal year; of which $1.23 billion would go towards roads, $463.1 million to the state’s general fund, $292.4 million to schools and $89.9 million to local governments.
They say there are two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. In Michigan it might be safe toadd a third: deteriorating roads. The condition of roads continues to worsen across the state, and lawmakers have pondered ways to fix the problem. In Michigan, the current proposed method is an increased retail sales tax increase that will be for the purpose of increasing transportation and infrastructure funding, as well as allowing for increased education spending. Michigan voters will take to the polls to decide on this issue – Proposal 1 – May 5.
Proposal 1 has generated plenty of controversy throughout the state of Michigan before elections in May 2015 and Lansing has its foot in the conversation as well. The question reads, “A proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to replace and supplement reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government,” according to the official ballot question release. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said, “I’m not terribly enthused about it because I’m not a fan of the sales tax.”
Said Bernero: “It’s not that I disagree with where the money would go. The money would go to roads, school, and local government. Those are all good.