Mass transportation could move state beyond “Band-aid” fixes

Capital News Service
LANSING — The May 5 ballot proposal to raise sales taxes for road improvements might be just a start toward fixing the state’s transportation needs. For many years, officials haven’t been fixing roads but patching them, said Denise Donohue, the director of the County Road Association of Michigan. “Currently we are simply patching potholes, which just puts a Band-aid over the problem,” Donohue said. “If there is a pothole, that means there is a crack in the road bed that is allowing water to get through and freeze and so forth. So really, a bigger repair is what’s needed.”

A legislative report from 2011 says such quick fixes only last up to three years for roads in fair condition, and not even a full year for roads in poor condition.

Debate continues about road commissions' future

Capital News Service
LANSING – Critics are still questioning a new law that allows a county’s board of commissioners to abolish and undertake road commission duties. While understanding the intentions of the legislation – to consolidate local government entities while saving money – skeptics say they are unsure whether the measure will actually alleviate costs. According to John Niemela, director of the County Road Association of Michigan, there is little to no evidence that consolidation would save taxpayer dollars. “Road commission administrative expenses are very low,” Niemela said. “The bulk of a road commission’s funding is directed toward static expenses such as road materials, road maintenance and road improvement projects.