In a special presentation before the House Government Operations Committee this week, Gloria Jeff, the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), told the committee that West Michigan had received more than its fair share of funding for roads, highways and bridges.
Jeff further stated that she was “impounding” Build Michigan III money and does not intend to spend that sort of money on transportation projects in West Michigan.
“I am extremely concerned that Ms. Jeff does not intend to make getting money for West Michigan roads a priority. With bond rates as low as they have been, now does not seem to be the time to hold up future development of West Michigan’s transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Jim Koetje, R-Grandville, chair of the committee.
“The Build Michigan I, II and III programs have enabled Michigan to aggressively capture federal funding for Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.”
The Build Michigan III program provides for the investment of nearly $1 billion in transportation projects, above and beyond the base construction program, that reduce congestion, improve safety and meet current economic development needs.
“In 1992 the Build Michigan I program provided $200 million in bond proceeds to leverage available federal aid. The Build Michigan II program followed in 1997 with an additional $300 million annually returned in federal aid, enabling MDOT to bid record-breaking road and bridge projects,” said Koetje.
“It is absolutely vital that West Michigan receive its fair share of Build Michigan III funding for transportation projects if West Michigan is to maintain and support its current and long term economic development and expansion needs.”