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Michigan's future transportation needs (and costs) will be under review this week

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A special task force starts work this week to try to come up with a plan to better spend state tax dollars to fix Michigan’s roads.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is spending about a billion dollars building and repairing the state’s roads this year.

But to keep pace with what’s needed to just maintain the state’s infrastructure, its estimated Michigan would need to spend $1.4 billion.

State Senator Roger Kahn wonders if that money is being spent efficiently enough.

“Folks say we’re paying plenty of money to get good roads…and yet we don’t have’em,” says Kahn.

Kahn heads a special task force charged with assessing Michigan’s transportation spending.    The panel plans to hold five public meetings during the next two month.   The meetings will assess the current management of the state system, compare current revenue and maintenance needs, as well as what will happen if those needs are not met. 

Sen. Kahn admits his is not the first group to study the problems and challenges facing the state’s transportation infrastructure. 

“Some would argue ‘Why are you doing any meetings at all…because it’s been studied before,”  Kahn concedes,  “I think we’re going to bring a little bit different way to look at this. And hopefully there will be added value and we’ll move toward an action plan.”

Kahn says he has received assurances from legislative leaders that his task force’s findings will carry some weight in future planning.

Kahn says his task force will deliver its recommendations in a few months.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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