Funding Situation Grim for MI Roads

MDOT, and county road commissions, want the U.P. to know something about the next few years.

With less and less gas tax money coming in, less and less road work can get done.

And U.P. roads may suffer as a result.

MDOT hosted a road funding forum in Negaunee Township to spell out how grim the picture is.

The Marquette County Road Commission is in OK financial shape for the moment.

But it’s had to dip into cash reserves to stay that way.

And soon, that money will be gone.

Engineer/manager Jim Iwanicki says the commission has enough of a cash balance on hand to supplement its state funding for another year to 18 months.

After that, it’ll have to ask residents how they’d like to see the Road Commission scale back its operations.

MDOT says it’ll lose about $2 billion in funding over the next 4 years.

Lansing won’t be cutting the budget that much.

But any cuts will hamper MDOT’s ability to get federal matching grants.

MDOT Superior Region engineer Randy Van Portfliet says it’ll result in about 25,000 lost jobs between now and 2014.

The U.P. is on pace to lose nearly 400 jobs next year as a direct result of MDOT’s increasing inability to match the federal grants.

Because fewer projects will be done, Michigan roads are also on tap to decline from 90% good in 2008 to 63% good four years from now.