Additional Transportation Infrastructure Investment in Michigan Necessary to Grow Economy, Report Says

AASHTO Journal, 24 January 2014

In order to grow the economy and keep motorists safe on its roads and bridges, Michigan needs to invest additional funding in its transportation infrastructure system, according to a new report released this week by transportation nonprofit TRIP.

According to the report, “Michigan Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” Michigan’s transportation infrastructure is costing state residents a total of $7.7 billion each year due to congestion and a lack in safety features in some areas. According to the report, that equates to $1,600 each year for Detroit drivers and just more than $1,000 per year for drivers in Grand Rapids and Lansing. TRIP said that transportation infrastructure is especially deteriorating and aging in those cities, as 57 percent of Detroit’s major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. That number drops slightly for urban roads in Lansing (49 percent) and Grand Rapids (40 percent). In addition, about 27 percent of bridges statewide are in need of repair, improvement, or replacement.

“These numbers get worse with every new report,” said Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle in a statement. “MDOT has found millions in savings through innovations and efficiencies but cuts alone will not provide the additional dollars needed to shore up roads, bridges, and rail and bus systems. Michigan’s continued comeback hinges on new investment in transportation, the state’s economic backbone.”

While Michigan’s transportation infrastructure ages and deteriorates, many goods and people continue to travel through the state on its roadways. According to TRIP, 67 percent of goods shipped each year in Michigan travel by truck, while the state’s highways and roads carried 95 billion vehicle miles of travel in 2012 alone. These numbers suggest a need to invest additional dollars into the transportation system for the economy.

“With a current unemployment rate of 9 percent, Michigan must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state,” according to TRIP. “In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Michiganders. Meeting Michigan’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state, and federal funding.”

TRIP’s 23-page report is available here.

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