42 percent of Michigan’s roads and bridges are either in mediocre or poor condition, and collectively, it’s costing Michigan drivers billions of dollars each year. That’s according to a new report from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington, DC.
Carolyn Bonifas Kelly is the Associate Director of Research & Communication at TRIP and one of the study’s authors. She presented the findings Tuesday morning in downtown Grand Rapids.
“So Michigan drivers, because their transportation system is increasingly congested and deteriorated and not as safe as it could be, are losing about $14 billion each year,” Bonifas Kelly said. “That amounts to $2000 a year for each driver here in Grand Rapids.”
While increased transportation funding provided by Michigan’s 2015 road funding package has allowed many projects to proceed in Grand Rapids and throughout the state, the study found that additional investment is still needed to complete numerous projects throughout Michigan that would improve road and bridge conditions, and enhance safety and efficiency. And its drivers who will be footing the bill.
“Drivers are already paying the price for a deficient transportation system in the form of this extra vehicle operating costs,” Bonifas Kelly said. “They can either pay to drive on a deteriorated transportation system, or they can pay up front to improve the transportation system.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget would raise gas taxes by 45 cents a gallon she says would fund the needed resources to fix the roads. Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield responded to the proposal, quote: “That’s not happening.”