LANSING, Mich. – FOX News today visited Calhoun County to investigate the condition of county roads in Michigan, once again bringing national attention to Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure.
Reporters interviewed the County Road Association of Michigan (CRAM) and the Calhoun County Road Commission to report on Calhoun County’s plan to pulverize roads because it can’t afford to repair them. More Michigan counties are considering the move. The segment will air Thursday.
Michigan’s deteriorating roadways were also the star of the show in June 2009, when Michigan’s dangerous infrastructure was filmed as part of a History Channel special, “The Crumbling of America.”
“It’s not surprising that Michigan has again made national headlines for the disastrous condition of our roads and bridges,” said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), co-chair of the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT). “Our local road agencies literally don’t have enough funding to keep roads paved and have no other choice than to revert roads back to gravel.”
“Calhoun County is not in a unique funding situation,” said John Niemela, director of CRAM. “Michigan legislators’ have continued to ignore Michigan’s declining transportation revenues, leaving Michigan motorists to deal with the consequences – crumbling, pothole-filled roads, closed bridges and faltering roadways.”
FOX News was intrigued by a recent CRAM story showing that in Michigan, more than 50 miles of paved county roads have been converted to gravel in the past few years.
A 2008 report by the bipartisan Transportation Funding Task Force (TF2) recommends an increase in transportation investment of $3.5 billion annually to overcome a decade of deterioration and to maintain the current road network in “good condition.” The Michigan Transportation Team, a statewide coalition supporting increased investment in transportation infrastructure, reports that the state’s primary source of road funding – the state’s gas tax – is expected to bring in $110 million less this year than in 2002, as vehicles have become more fuel efficient and motorists have changed their driving habits.
“Michigan legislators need to realize the consequences of their negligence,” said Nystrom. “Our roads will continue to decline without proper funding, and Michigan will continue to make national headlines.”
Michigan residents 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 be connected with their legislative offices.
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, VP of Government & Public Relations, MITA (517) 347-8336 – office (517) 896-1493 – cell