Skubick: Battle over road repair bucks heats up


Lansing and other urban areas believe they are not getting their fair share of road  repair dollars while outstate Michigan is getting more.

An effort is underway to change the funding formula but there are indications that it’s a tough row to hoe for urban lawmakers.

When the governor signed the $160 million road funding bill this week, who decided where the money went.
The answer is lawmakers back in 1951 who adopted a funding formula that, according to the critics, gives more money per capita to outstate Michigan than to urban areas.
Lansing city councilmember Peter Spadafore says “In some cases, per capita, many outstate communities are getting more with fewer roads. its probably not fair.”
Urban lawmakers argue they have more road problems since more drivers are using the roads compared to up north where there are no freeways and mostly two lane roads.
State senator Jack Brandenburg of Macomb County insists “southeast michigan has all the population, all the cars, all the trucks and industry, so we gotta get this fixed. Outstate Michigan is getting most of the money.
To change the funding formula, urban lawmakers have to convince outstate lawmakers to give up some of their road dollars.  
But are they willing to give up some road dollars?
Sen. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City answers “we need to make sure the entire state is taken care of.  I’m not giving up any money from northern Michigan or the Upper Peninsula.
Macomb County lawmaker Rep. Jeff Yaroch reports he has almost 9% of the population but is receiving between 2 and 7 percent of the road bucks.
He’s trying to forge an urban coalition to take more funds from outstate colleagues.
“When you start to take into account some of the other urban areas, this is primarily a density issue. Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids. I think you have a lot more people to come with.
How tough is it to change Act 51?
The governor called for revisions his first year in office and he’s still waiting.

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