Michigan ranks last in state per-capita spending on roads and bridges, based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, according to the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association. Photo via fb.com
For motorists who have been unhappy with the condition of West Michigan’s roads, help is on the way.
The Roads and Risk Reserve Fund, created as part of the state government’s FY14 general budget, will allot $15 million of its currently available $115 million toward a number of road projects in West Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
West Michigan projects
- A $2.47 million resurfacing project on M-37, from Three Mile Road to Alpenhorn Drive in Kent County
- A $1.9 million repair project on M-21, from Hillcrest Drive east to the Ionia County line in Kent County
- A $2.2 million bridge maintenance project at eight locations on I-96 and one on I-196 in Ottawa County
The RRR Fund was created “using $230 million in one-time general fund revenue,” according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. On Dec. 19, legislators announced a list of 103 transportation projects in Michigan that will be made possible through the RRR Fund. Half of the funds were made available for appropriation on Oct. 1 of last year. The other half of the funds will be appropriated on Feb. 1 of this year, if it has not already been selected for “other purposes.”
This development is “great news,” said Rick Baker, GRACC president and CEO.
“The drivers of our economy — manufacturing, agriculture and tourism — depend on a strong road network, and these projects will support economic growth,” Baker said.
“This $115-million announcement is only one-half of the Roads and Risk Reserve Fund. We look forward to submitting more projects to support West Michigan business when the other half can be appropriated by the legislature on Feb. 1.”
Gov. Rick Snyder echoed Baker’s sentiment, saying he also was very encouraged by the legislature's investment in the state’s transportation system.
"The Roads and Risks Reserve Fund is a terrific start, and we'll carry that momentum forward to our goal of fully funding the needs of Michigan's roads, bridges, rails, airports and public transit,” Snyder said. “The longer we wait, the more difficult the solution will be."
To see the full list of the road projects RRR plans to implement in Michigan, click here.