Michigan’s agriculture industry relies on a strong transportation system to get its products to and from market. Of all the vital infrastructure that is necessary for moving agriculture forward, nothing compares to the importance of our local roads. This should come as no surprise as almost all products, whether coming or going, start or end on a local road leading to the farm.
Locally driven decisions are the key principles behind managing the state’s local road network. At roughly 90,000 miles statewide, county road commissions are responsible for county roads and bridges within their jurisdiction to ensure safe and efficient transportation for goods and people with a focus on local control.
While the decisions for improvements and maintenance for local roads are made at the county level, funding is primarily allocated at the state level which is generated from registration fees or gas taxes. Unfortunately, Michigan’s transportation budget has regularly experienced funding shortfalls over the last several years which has caused a strain on many roads our farmers use every day. Despite being heavily debated in recent years, elected officials have struggled to approve a long-term funding proposal and are unlikely to find an agreed upon solution in the foreseeable future. With challenging budget realities in front of us, some county road commissions will be faced with making tough decisions on how best to properly invest and manage their local assets with the limited money they do receive.
Contact: Andrew Vermeesch | 517-679-4778
If additional road funds are not made available at the state level, what options do county road commissions have to gain more revenue for needed maintenance?
The cost of maintaining paved roads varies by size, condition and location, and can be significantly higher than converting to dirt. If funds are limited, is it better to convert deteriorating pavement that cannot be upkept to dirt roads if it means the unpaved road can be properly maintained?
What assurances do the citizens of the county have in ensuring that existing road funds are being properly managed by their county road commission?
How can farmers get more involved in the local planning for improvements and maintenance made by county road commissions, so their needs are met, and that agriculture has a voice in the decision-making process?
MFB Policy #96 Highways and Funding