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Lagging funds leaves Michigan’s aging infrastructure in critical need of funding

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Department Of Transportation and local agencies have made it no secret that for decades our state has not made the investment in infrastructure that our neighboring states have made.

Funding continues to lag behind as the need grows even more critical for Michigan’s aging infrastructure. The state’s roads and bridges ranking some of the worst in the country.

The Biden Administration still pushing law makers in Washington to pass the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, but the bill remains in limbo.

There may be a lot of construction around mid-Michigan this year, but MDOT’s Jocelyn Garza said that there are still hundreds of roads that need repairs.

“On the state transportation system we have some bridges that we know at the very least will need some very significant maintenance repairs,” said Garza.

But, to make those repairs, The Michigan Department of Transportation needs funding. Which they’ve been battling for, for years.

“Moving forward, as a state department, our hopes is to see a really significant funding change that will help us to bolster those construction dollars for the considerable future and not something we can only rely on for the next five to seven years,” she said.

Garza said that in the short term, they’ve been able to use the infusion of money from Gov. Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program, but that money will run out-- leaving the agency once again looking for support.

“We’ve been very fortunate in the last couple of years to have that bond funding that was passed. That is a pot of money that is being directly infused into making repairs, rebuilding sections of roads and bridges immediately-- instead of pushing that work off into the future like we have been forced to do,” she said. “But while its a great infusion to our program, what we need to see for the long run is a really substantial change to our funding structure to make sure that we have a consistent infusion of additional dollars.”

Garza said that the lack of infrastructure funding isn’t just impacting state trunk lines, its a ripple effect that is leaving local road commissions and cities also looking for additional funding.

ABC12 News will have more details from the President’s visit and infrastructure concerns coming up on ABC12 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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