Bond money for roads a non-starterLANSING – It won’t be easy to gather up the political courage – in the form of finding new money – to “fix the damn roads,” as pledged by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
After all, decades of financial neglect have led to the physical neglect of the roads, leading to Michigan having the worst or among the worst roads in the nation by some rating organizations. Former Gov. Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission said the state needs to spend about $2.6 billion a year to properly repair the roads.Talks are on in Lansing to figure out a way to raise the new money - whether it is from increasing the state tax on gasoline sales, allocating more general sales taxes to the roads or hiking vehicle registration fees, or some other funding method.
But what's likely off the table is bonding - borrowing money to pay for road improvements today, and then paying for the work over time. A House Fiscal Agency report released Feb. 6 revealed that the state still owes $1.2 billion in interest on road projects that were performed starting 20 years ago, and is paying this year alone $196.6 million in interest. That's just about what the state has been paying per year over the past decade. The bonds, initiated in both the Engler and Granholm administrations, aren't scheduled to be paid off until 2037.
The president - who has talked in the past of increasing spending on improving the nation's roads, bridges, water supply systems, sewers and the like - threw the industry a bone, but there wasn't much meat on it. He said he wants to work with Congress on legislation that would bring about a “great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.” Trump provided no details on the spending for the plan or what projects should be targeted.In the 2018 State of the
North America's Building Trades Union President Sean McGarvey said the president "rightly addressed the miserable state of the union's infrastructure.