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Potholes spur debate over road funding

Salt trucks
Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio
Terrible roads have lawmakers asking for emergency money, and the governor renewing his call for long-term funding.

Lawmakers in the state House want to more than double the amount of emergency money for Michigan roads being ripped apart by nasty winter weather.

Last week, the state Senate approved $100 million to help fix potholes and plow roads. On Wednesday, a state House panel added another $115 million dollars for roads to the bill.  

“I think people are going to look at that and say that’s the way we’re giving back to the public – better roads as quickly as possible, a lot of it going to locals,” said Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

“It solves a lot of problems, I hope,” he said.

Gov. Rick Snyder says his administration is also working on an emergency road repair proposal to deal with the damage caused by this year’s harsh winter. But he says a lot more is needed. 

“About 12 to 13% of our bridges are structurally deficient,” Snyder said. “So, on your commute, as you may be driving back and forth to wherever you are going, to work, other places, if you go over or under eight or more bridges, statistically, one of those is probably structurally deficient.”

Snyder has not been able to muster support in the Legislature for a plan to generate more than $1 billion in new transit revenue. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.