Lawmakers say potholes are damaging Michigan roads, pocketbooks
Surrounded by blown tires and bent rims in the middle of Firestone on Greenfield, one of the state’s worst roads, state Representatives Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield), Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) and Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser), minority vice chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, urged the approval of an additional $215 million to fund the maintenance and reconstruction of roads throughout the state. The state’s current lack of road funding has taken a toll on residents across the metro region who pay nearly 30 percent more for auto repairs caused by horrid road conditions than motorist in surrounding states.
“More than 75 percent of the roads in Southfield are in poor condition, and every year the state ignores funding for maintenance, another 41 percent of our roads fall into that same category,” said Hobbs. “Hardworking families are already struggling to make ends meet. But here in Michigan, we place an additional burden on them to make unnecessary repairs to their vehicles caused by horrid road conditions that could have been prevented.”
Joe Kay, manager of Northland Firestone, provided a demonstration of the damage poor roads cause to vehicles, which included a visual of bent rims and blown tires caused by poor road conditions that in many cases cost up to $1,200 to repair.
Lane said, “Michigan spends less per person on investments to transportation infrastructure than any other state in the Great Lakes region, while at the same time our residents have spent more money repairing busted tires, cracked rims and damage to front ends since 2008. This dangerous trend has to stop.”
With spring just around the corner, the legislators warned that road conditions will only get worse. They urged the governor and legislative Republicans to provide Michigan motorists relief by passing additional infrastructure funding while the budget is currently in Conference Committee, and committing to a longer-term solution to maintain the roads in Michigan.
Barnett said, “This is yet another failure of Republican leadership still fixated on election year tax cuts. Michigan’s roads are in critical failure and everyone who drives on them knows it. It is just irresponsible and dangerous, especially when there is almost $500 million available to help local governments and road commissions begin to address the problem. With proper leadership on this issue, Michigan residents can have peace of mind traveling to work and back, knowing they will get there safely and not have a blowout that could easily cost next month’s rent.”
Hobbs added, “Southfield deserves leadership at the local level calling for increased funding for our roads, which are arguably some of the worst in the state. If you have ever traveled to Greenfield, the need for fixes is impossible to ignore, and the same goes for the rest of southeast Michigan.”
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I’m State Representative Marilyn Lane, and I serve Michigan’s 31st House District.
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State Representative Marilyn Lane
31st House District