House votes to spend $175M on road repairs, transportation

Posted at 7:32 AM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 07:32:02-05

The Michigan House voted to spend $175 million on road and transportation projects Wednesday as the winter thaw reveals awful potholes - and flat tires - around the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder had proposed spending the money in the new budget year, which starts Oct. 1. But lawmakers decided to tap a budget surplus sooner in response to the poor road conditions.

"The roads are just kind of crazy," said Republican Rep. Laura Cox of Livonia, who chairs the Appropriations Committee.

She said moving on the money now will help communities prepare for the construction season. The Senate could vote next week.

Eighty percent of the money would go to the state Transportation Department and county road commissions, but cities and villages will benefit, too. The Detroit News reported the spending formula will include local population, pavement miles and other factors.

Detroit would receive $5.8 million; Grand Rapids, $1.47 million; Warren, $924,337; Sterling Heights, $810,884.

"I don't have words for how many potholes and how the roads are crumbling," said transportation department spokeswoman Diane Cross.

Democrats wanted to add another $70 million to $75 million, but their amendments failed in the Republican-controlled House.

The state would also be authorized to spend up to $15 million on connected vehicle projects, hydrogen fueling stations and ride-sharing projects for seniors and people with disabilities.