Skubick: Michigan voters may decide how to pay for crumbling roads, bridges

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan voters may be asked next year to approve a bonding proposal to fix the states deteriorating underground infrastructure system.

The chair of the Senate Budget Committee says there’s not enough money in the state government checkbook to repair the system.

The legislature is expected to wrap-up the new state budget this week, including the infusion of $35 million for infrastructure.

The governors special commission on fixing the infrastructure notes that the state needs about $4 billion a year for the next twenty years to get the job done.

So the $35 million is the proverbial drop in a sink hole.

“Right now the proposal for $35 million is not enough to get the job done,” explains Sen. David Hildenbrand. “It can be used to study the problem, set some objectives for the future but as far as fixing anything? We need more money than that.”

The Flint water crisis has brought the infrastructure challenges into focus, but there may be countless other lead in the water problems in other urban areas such as Detroit, Grand Rapids, and elsewhere.

Twenty years ago Michigan voters approved a bonding proposal to address environmental problems but that money is running out and can’t be used for other projects.

The Senate Budget chair wants to study another statewide bonding proposal to address the crumbing post-World War II infrastructure.

But the senator says none of those dollars would go for the roads because he thinks the state is on track to deal with that, although others strongly disagree.

He thinks the stuff underground needs attention. “We’re on track to make progress with our road funding. this bonding money instead should go into aging sewer systems, and other underground projects that go beyond the water crisis in the city of Flint.”

The House and Senate would have to approve the ballot proposal for 2018 but so far no concrete plans are on the table, only chatter about those plans.

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