Michigan Senate committee hears testimony on road funding

A Michigan Senate committee held a special meeting today to discuss the need for increased funding in the state’s road budget.

Members from organizations like the Michigan Department of Transportation spoke to the Senate Infrastructure and Modernization Committee about the state’s roads, with most voicing their support for increased funding. It was part of the committee’s attempt to collect testimony about a package of road funding bills that was recently passed in the House.

The bills would pump $450 million into the state’s road project budget. Some Senators believe the amount to add should be tripled, to $1.3 billion, in order to actually improve the quality of roads instead of maintaining their current condition.

Some of the people offering testimony agreed. “There has been a sudden and very dramatic shift in public opinion,” Michigan Chamber of Commerce president Rich Studley said. “Across the state, from Detroit to Dowagiac, from Niles to Negaunee, Michigan voters and Michigan motorists see potholes. Too many potholes. They don’t see Democratic or Republican potholes. They just see big potholes on their way to (becoming) giant potholes.”

The discussion of the package of bills, which includes House Bills 4630, 5459, 5477 and 5493, will continue tomorrow morning with a vote in the Senate committee eventually on the way.