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Stateside: MDOT director on road, bridge repair costs; fly fishing in MI; trauma-informed teaching

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Governor Whitmer's proposed 45 cent fuel tax increase has been controversial. But the new MDOT director says that there has to be new revenue to repair the state's roads and bridges.



Today on Stateside, the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation says repairing Michigan's roads and bridges is going to require raising additional revenue, whether that's from a controversial proposed gas tax or another source. Plus, the story of how Michigan archivists helped solve the mystery of a Civil War veteran's missing gravestone.


MDOT director: We need a fuel tax increase–or a better idea–to pay for roads

Stateside’s conversation with Paul Ajegba

  • Fixing Michigan’s roads was a major theme of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign. She says the state needs to spend $2.5 billion more each year to repair the state's roads. The governor's solution is to raise Michigan’s gas tax by 45 cents gradually over the course of one year. That solution has gotten a lot of pushback from Michigan drivers and politicians. But the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation Paul Ajegba says that the state's roads and bridges won't be repaired without an infusion of revenue, whether it comes from a fuel tax or another plan.


How Michigan archivists solved the mystery of a Civil War veteran’s missing gravestone


Stateside’s conversation with Mark Harvey


  • Memorial Day was first known as "Decoration Day," and was created to commemorate veterans just after the Civil War. Mark Harvey, state archivist with the Michigan History Center, discusses the origins of the holiday, and the story of Manley McNitt, a Civil War veteran from Michigan whose gravestone was washed away during Hurricane Harvey. 
  • This segment is produced in partnership with the Michigan History Center.


New guide highlights Michigan’s rich fly fishing history


Stateside’s conversation with John Osborn

  • There are nearly 7 million fly fishers in the U.S., according to a 2018 surveyfrom the Outdoor Foundation. Michigan fly fishing enthusiast and author Jon Osborn is one of them. He's just released an updated version of his book Flyfisher’s Guide to Michigan. He joins Stateside to talk about the state's fly fishing history and his best tips for a successful fishing trip.

Ragatz: How schools are using “trauma-informed” teaching to reach at-risk students


Stateside's conversation with Matinga Ragatz


  • Schools are increasingly rethinking how they deal with "troublemakers" in the classroom. There's been a realization that many of those students have incredibly stressful lives outside of school due to issues like poverty, homelessness, or neighborhood violence. This has resulted in a new approach called “trauma-informed” teaching.
  • Matinga Ragatz is Stateside's education commentator and a National Hall of Fame teacher. She joins Stateside to discuss what trauma-informed teaching looks like in the classroom, and the difference it makes in schools.


Some Democrats blast Gov. Whitmer over "broken promises" on car insurance



Stateside’s conversation with Michigan Radio reporter Sarah Cwiek

  • Some Democratic lawmakers and victims of car crashes are not happy with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She reached a deal with Republican legislators to change Michigan’s auto insurance laws to allow a tiered system of coverage, rather than mandating unlimited personal injury protection. 
  • Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports that some Democratic lawmakers are also taking issue with what they say are potential discrimination loopholes.


Is no-fault auto insurance reform good news for low-income Michiganders? Maybe.



Stateside’s conversation with Patrick Cooney


  • According to a recent University of Michigan study, auto insurance is unaffordable in 97% of Michigan counties. Last week, state lawmakers passed legislation that would reform Michigan’s auto insurance laws and allow drivers to choose from tiers of personal injury protection. Supporters say this will drastically lower auto insurance rates. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she plans to sign the legislation.
  • Patrick Cooney is assistant director of the University of Michigan Poverty Solutions' Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility. He joins Stateside to discuss what these changes would mean for low-income households in Michigan, especially in Detroit, where the average yearly auto insurance payment is more than $5,000. 

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