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Macomb County

July 15, 2014

Lawmakers announce $2 million for local roads

Forlini says long-term funding still a priority

By Julie Snyder
C & G Staff Writer

MACOMB COUNTY — Two Macomb County representatives have procured a $2 million grant to fund concrete repairs along a pothole-infested Hall Road, but they say much more funding is needed to not only completely replace the entire stretch, but to permanently repair all of southeast Michigan’s dilapidated roads.

State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, and Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, announced the planned road project last week with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The grant funds concrete repairs on M-59 from Elizabeth Road to I-94.

“The Legislature has set aside funds dedicated to keeping our roads safe and smooth for families and for commercial traffic vital to our economy,” Forlini said. “By working to improve our local roads without raising taxes, we can invest in our state’s future and improve the lives of every Michigan resident in some small way.”

The grant money was made possible by the Legislature, which allocated $115 million in existing funds to road improvements throughout Michigan. The Legislature also allocated an additional $115 million for roads and bridges last December.

And while this most recent grant will smooth out a bumpy M-59, it’s not a permanent fix — something greatly needed on local roadways, said Forlini, who also represents parts of Clinton Township and Macomb Township.

“This is a short-term solution,” he said. “The concrete has a cancer; it’s rotting from the inside and needs to be pulled up entirely. That will cost a lot more than $2 million.”

Forlini said the concrete that was used on Hall proved a failure and has since been slowing falling apart. He said it’s time fuel taxes be rerouted.

“Southeast Michigan has gotten the short end of the stick for many, many, many years,” he said. “There needs to be a change in formula to get money where it needs to be. The roads up north look like they were paved with gold. We have the oldest roads and the most amount of roads, and we are subsidizing the rest of the state.”

As part of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the Legislature created the special fund using $230 million in existing state revenue. One-half of the funds were available for appropriation on Oct. 1, and the other half is now being appropriated. This funding is in addition to $121.3 million from the state general fund used to fully match available federal transportation funds.

“We have an obligation to make Michigan’s roadways safe places for our families and visitors,” said LaFontaine, a representative for parts of Macomb County and St. Clair County. “Projects like this one have been funded by the Legislature’s allocation and will undoubtedly bring substantial repairs to communities across our great state.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Julie Snyder at jsnyder@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1039.