LANSING – Michigan lawmakers today received a special delivery from the Pothole Hell Devils: Personal copies of the “Roads to Pure Michigan are Pure Hell” video that has caught fire on YouTube, Facebook, and with audiences across the state.
While the Michigan Transportation Team’s new viral video campaign has a humorous edge, Michigan roads are no laughing matter. The Michigan Department of Transportation faces a Saturday deadline to submit a complete list of approved projects to the Metropolitan Planning Organizations. To have any of the projects win federal approval by Oct. 1, legislators must find the $84 million to ensure Michigan receives its full federal reimbursement.
“As Michigan’s economic backbone tourism, manufacturing and agriculture industries are in the midst of their peak season, residents and visitors are finding that the roads to Pure Michigan are pure hell,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association. “While the Pure Pothole Hell campaign is lighthearted, Michigan’s crumbling roads are a very serious and growing problem for the state – ask anyone who drives them – they are pure hell.”
For nearly 18 months, lawmakers have turned a deaf ear to warnings that their inaction on developing transportation funding is about to cost Michigan $475 million in federal matching funds for roads. Unless lawmakers take quick action, the $84 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 will effectively shelve road rehabilitation and bridge repair projects, which could generate thousands of jobs in a state hungry for them. Without that money, there won’t be enough time to add new projects into the regional transportation plans and complete the necessary permits--especially for projects requiring advance notice for material delivery.
“According to an Anderson Economic Group study released in May, doubling the state’s investment in roads and bridges could generate more than 15,000 good-paying jobs and pave the way for an economic turnaround in Michigan,” said Nystrom. “As state legislators continue to look for solutions to turn Michigan’s economy around, investing in our state’s crumbling infrastructure should be a no-brainer.”
To view the Pure Michigan, Pure Pothole Hell video, go to http://bit.ly/potholehell. In addition, Michigan residents can learn more by visiting: www.drivemi.org or citizens can voice their concerns about road funding by calling a toll-free number – 888-719-3087 – set up by MTT. Callers simply enter their five-digit ZIP code to connect with their legislator’s office.
The Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) is a broad-based, bipartisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens with the common goal of improving Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. The DriveMI campaign is committed to promoting the development and maintenance of a safe, convenient and efficient transportation network that serves the public, private and economic development needs of Michigan. Please visit www.drivemi.org for more information on transportation funding or follow them on twitter @drivemi or YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/FixMIRoads.
Contact: Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, MITA Office: (517) 347-8336, Cell: (517) 896-1493