Proposal 1 Does Not Guarantee Every Bridge Fixed

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – Five bridges in Jackson County and nine bridges in Calhoun County are in poor condition, but the counties only have enough money to fix one or two of them per year.

Which leaves some bridges in rough shape.

Currently only about a half of a cent from the gas tax goes to fix Michigan bridges, leaving all 83 counties to fight over about $25 million for bridge repairs that might sound substantial, but when divvied up, some bridges are left untouched.

“Here in Calhoun County it’s a little more of a serious condition with 84 bridges and 13 of those are poor, 65 are good or fair, but we also have 9 that are serious or critical, one has been closed for a few years,” said Christopher Bolt, Jackson Co. Department of Transportation and Calhoun Co. Road Department Managing Director.

Since priority is given to bridges in the poorest condition with the heaviest traffic, some counties fare worse than others.

In Jackson County’s case, they are doing alright.

“We’ve been fortunate, since I’ve been here and that’s been13 years, we have had funding for 19 bridges to date. And we also have funding for the Hague Avenue bridge this year and Michigan Avenue bridge next year,” said Joseph Michalsky, director of engineering, Jackson County Road Commission.

If proposal 1 passes, it’s not a guarantee that all bridges will be fixed.

It will simply increase the money available to counties to fix their infrastructure, but they’ll still have to apply to see that money.

“It’s very, very competitive and there’s a number of bridge committees that review all of the applications and they choose based on the funding,” said Michalsky.

Despite the restrictions, the road commissions seemed very much in favor of proposal 1, but we’ll have to see if the money is available in May.

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