State senate passes bill that includes $100 million in emergency aid for state and local roads

(WXYZ) Macomb County - In the midst of a brutal winter, the Michigan Senate passed a bill Thursday that includes $100 million dollars in emergency aid for state and local road departments. The bill still has to go through the House committee and floor process, but changes could be made. There's no timetable as to how quickly things could move forward.

Robert Hoepfner is the director of the Macomb County Road Commission. He says if the bill goes all the way, it could mean around $2 million for Macomb County, but that would really just give them money that has already been spent.

"It's great. We need it, but it's not the solution to the problem. The long-term solution is to increase overall funding not just a stop gap to reimburse us for heavy winter maintenance costs," he says.

Aaron Schiefer, like so many other Michigan drivers, has felt the pain of a pothole.

Wednesday night along SB Van Dyke near 696 he hit a huge pothole. He blew a tire and bent the rims on two others.

He wasn't the only one in trouble.

"There were eight or 10 others in this parking lot alone dealing with the same problem," he says.

It cost him more than $180 to fix his van and he missed a half day of work too.

He hopes the extra road funding comes through now and for the long term.

"They definitely need to invest more ... a lot more. It's costing everybody," he says.

Hoepfner says his county's winter road budget for the year has been overspent by a million dollars so far.
He anticipates another million to be spent before the season is over.

"Every road department in Michigan - I can guarantee you has overrun their winter maintenance budget.
We really need the money," he says.

Action News contacted the Macomb County Road Commission about the pothole Schiefer says he hit on Van Dyke near 696. Within one hour, we saw patching crews working on the problem.

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