Local officials increasingly convert paved roads to gravel ones as lawmakers debate how to fund repairs

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan communities might see more local roads turned to gravel in coming months, thanks to winter’s remaining grip. The rough winter has given Michigan’s road funding concerns a violent push into statewide spotlight as discussion swirls at the Capitol. But road commissions across the state are eyeing the immediate impact that deeply rooted frost has on a local level. County road commissions have increasingly taken up the practice of permanently or temporarily turning paved roads into gravel in recent years to deal with issues of low funding and poor road conditions, said Joe Pulver, Clinton County Road Commission managing director. Last year, about half of Michigan counties were forced to convert paved roads to gravel, said Monica Ware, the communications and development manager for the County Road Association of Michigan.

New fee on horsepower would support road repairs

Capital News Service
LANSING – Whoa! Should counties be able to tax horse-drawn vehicles to raise money for road repairs? That’s the idea from Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, who wants to give counties the option of collecting an annual registration fee of up to $50 per vehicle if local voters approve. County road funding now comes from the state fuel tax and motor vehicle registration fees. Rev. William Lindholm, who chairs the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, said his Livonia-based organization just heard of the proposal and hasn’t looked into it yet.