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Whitmer's MDOT pick says more money needed to fix Michigan roads

Paul Ajegba (right) talks with people before Tuesday's Senate Advice and Consent committee meeting.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The man picked to implement Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s main campaign promise to “fix the damn roads” was grilled by state senators Tuesday.

Paul Ajegba has been with the Michigan Department of Transportation for nearly three decades. He was picked by the governor in December to serve as MDOT director. 

He told the Senate Advice and Consent committee that Michigan’s poor roads are a result of a history of temporary fixes to stretch state tax dollars. Ajegba noted Michigan has ranked near the bottom for per capita spending on roads.

“What that means is that we’re spending a lot of money maintaining poor roads. And it’s forcing us to do short term fixes,” says Ajegba.

The governor is expected to talk about the need for more road funding in her State of the State address on Tuesday, February 12.    

Senate Advice and Consent Committee Chairman Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) says he’s looking forward to seeing the governor’s plan. 

“How are we going to fund these things?” Lucido asked reporters after the hearing, “Is it a bonding? We’re looking forward in the State of the State on the 12th, or sooner, how the governor intends to take care of this business of the roads.”

Whitmer is not expected to lay out her road funding plan until later this year. 

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.