MDOT chief: roads will get worse
Michigan's Republican-led Legislature had to be dragged kicking and screaming into adopting a $1.2 billion increase per year in road funding package in 2015. To get to that figure. gas taxes were raised 7 cents, vehicle registration fees were hiked 20 percent, and $600 million was moved from the state's General Fund into road repair.
Lawmakers were told at the time that the $1.2 billion, while helpful, would be inadequate in terms of the long-term maintenance of state roads. And the full amount of the funding still won't kick in until 2019. Still, according to the MIRS News Service, the numbers "seemed to shock" members of the House Michigan Department of Transportation Subcommittee during a presentation earlier this month.
Given current trend lines and including the $1.2 billion per year increase in funding, Michigan's roads are expected to drop this year from about 80 percent good or fair condition to just over 70 percent.
"The funding is going up so we should be halting that line from the fall, right?" asked Senate MDOT Appropriations Chair Goeff Hansen (R-Hart). Nope. In 10 years, more than 60 percent of state-maintained roads will be "poor," MIRS reported, citing the presentation by MDOT Director Kurt Steudle.
It was widely reported here and elsewhere that MDOT and Gov. Rick Snyder were seeking funds in the neighborhood of double that $1.2 billion per year in order to maintain decent roads in Michigan. The new money that's coming in will only limit the rate of decline of the roads.
IBEW 906's Pratt is U.P.'s top apprentice
IBEW Local 906’s Kevin Pratt, was named the Upper Peninsula Apprentice of the Year for 2016.
Kevin was honored Feb. 25 among approximately 180 attendees at the sixth annual Upper Peninsula Apprentice of the Year recognition banquet. It was held at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris.
This event was organized and hosted by the Upper Peninsula Construction Council (UPCC) to recognize outstanding apprentices in the U.P. construction industry. The selection panel was made up of Gundlach Champion President James Ebli, Marquette Alger RESA Supt. Deborah Veiht, Range Bank Executive Vice President Roxanne Daust; Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Commissioner Don Maki; VERSO Corp.’s Mike Fornetti, and Northern Michigan Sr. Vice President University Art Gischia.
There were 20 apprentices nominated by the trades that represent construction workers in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
The awards recognize “outstanding performance and attitude for an apprentice, demonstrating high levels of craft accomplishment and leadership, involvement and achievement in community service, exhibiting mindfulness of the importance of safe work practices, and for exhibiting outstanding classroom and jobsite attendance.”
Congratulations also to two finalists for the award: Erin Lakenen of IBEW Local 906 and Paul Barna of U.P. Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 111.