How the COVID-19 crisis is hurting local road repair budgets

Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 23:17:55-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — You might say with many staying home, and not behind the wheel, it is a great time to fix roads. So what's the problem? The COVID-19 crisis is already attacking some road budgets.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says many MDOT projects, such as the Modernize I-75 construction underway right now, are supported with a large amount of federal funding. They should not be impacted.

Still, in your communities and counties there is a problem.

“The primary source of our funding at the Washtenaw County Road Commission, or any road commission, is through vehicle registrations and fuel tax revenue," said Emily Kizer, Communications Manager at the Washtenaw County Road Commission. "We know that traffic volumes are down, they are way down. and we also know that new vehicle purchases are way down.”

Kizer says the Washtenaw County Road Commission is fortunate in that it budgeted conservatively. Projects about to start should not be impacted – but in the future, it might have to delay some work.

The Deputy Director of the County Road Association of Michigan Ed Noyola says road commissions recently received their funding raised in the month of March. Even though the full stay-at-home order didn’t go into effect until March 23, there was a big drop in revenue.

“It is down, down almost 9 percent. So everyone is taking a 9 percent hit,” Noyola said.

In smaller counties the impact could be felt this summer.