Roads proposal could aid officers, advocates say

Capital News Service
LANSING — The controversial May ballot proposal that would raise the sales tax and fix Michigan roads could have an unexpected side effect: safer working conditions for police officers. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among police officers, said Terry Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. Through March 26, 12 officers across the country died in traffic accidents this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Michigan recently experienced this first hand when Ingham County Sheriff’s Deputy Grant Whitaker was killed in an automobile accident while chasing a suspect last December. “Our workplace is the highway,” Jungel said.

Money coming to help erase winter’s damage in Northern Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — As winter approaches, the Michigan Economic Development Corp.(MEDC) is pouring an additional $1.6 million into the effort to assist communities still reeling from damages sustained during last year’s deep freeze, bringing the total to $7.6 million. The funds will partially reimburse more than 30 communities in the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas for repairing damaged roads and water mains, and to wrap up construction before the cold weather sets in. “It’s really the first time we’ve seen that scale,” said Lisa Pung, manager of the MEDC community assistance team. “There are some projects that are being addressed now and some that will have to extend into the winter and spring seasons.”

Marquette, for example, had 700 water main breaks last year at a cost of $1.7 million. The city received nearly $500,000 to mitigate infrastructure costs, in addition to $3,400 to Marquette County.