LANSING – Even with the 2015 road funding plan fully implemented, no “appreciable improvement” is expected in the state’s roads and bridges during the next 12 years, with 41 percent of all paved federal-aid roads in poor condition currently, the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council said Friday.
The report was submitted to the Legislature, State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Infrastructure Council. It marks the 14th year the Council drafted such a report.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
During the last year, more of the state’s roads have been labeled poor, the report said. There was also a slight uptick in roads considered to be in good condition. In 2018, 41 percent were in poor condition, up from 40 percent, 38 percent in fair condition, down from 40 percent and 21 percent are in good condition, up from 20 percent.
The 41 percent in poor condition represent 36,000 lane miles of roads maintained with state and federal funding.
“Given the current rate of road deterioration and given the anticipated funding levels for road reservation and repair, the percentage of roads in poor condition will remain above 40 percent for the foreseeable future, the report said.
The report comes as Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to push for – and the Legislature considers to balk at – a 45-cent gas tax increase that would put roughly $2 billion more into roads annually.
Legislative Republicans have yet to present a road funding plan, though Senate Republicans have sped up the implementation in the 2015 roads plan under their budget proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has said the budget and road funding proposals should remain separate, while Ms. Whitmer has threatened a veto of that approach.
It is unclear if House Republicans will present a roads plan with the budget or later. House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) has said a GOP plan will be responsible and won’t break the budgets of families.
Combined, roads considered to be in good or fair condition decreased from 60 percent to 59 percent, the report said. Every year since 2005, more roads have deteriorated than have improved.
The report also said by 2028, nearly all of the progress made toward improving bridge conditions since 2014 could be lost as their condition is expected to decline. The report said from 2004 through 2018, bridges in the state saw a steady decline in the number of poor bridges.
But the reduction in poor bridges has slowed while the number of fair bridges has increased between 2011 and 2018.
“These fair bridges represent a large need for preservation or there is a risk for increasing the number of poor bridges,” the report said.
The report said 10.7 percent of all highway bridges in Michigan are in poor condition. More than 50 percent are in fair condition and less than 40 percent are in good condition, the report said.