By JUSTINE McGUIRE
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan’s deteriorating roads aren’t equipped to handle the extra traffic from the growing number of tourists throughout the state, and some officials fear bad roads could turn tourists away or give them a bad first impression. A lot of money goes into Pure Michigan and it’s been “wildly successful,” but the first impression of Michigan for many people is bad, dirty roads full of potholes that detract from the state’s beauty, said Kirk Steudle, director of the Department of Transportation (MDOT). Pure Michigan is an ad campaign that promotes the state as a tourism destination. Indicators of statewide tourism increases include record hotel occupancy in 2012 and increased out-of-state spending, according the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Pat Black, director of the Marquette County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “It’s great the state gives us $25 million a year for Pure Michigan, but there are more and more people on the roads wearing them down.”
“We’re really shooting ourselves in the foot,” Black said.