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Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2010

Contact: Matt Bach
Michigan Municipal Leauge
Director of Communications
734-929-8123 / e-mail

Lawmakers Need to Support Michigan Roads

Michigan Municipal League, national experts say strong transportation system key to state’s future

LANSING, Mich.–Michigan lawmakers need to increase the investment in Michigan’s transportation system in order to help revitalize the state. If legislators don’t act soon the state will forgo road safety and billions in federal match dollars, said local officials today during a news conference at the Michigan Municipal League (MML) Capital Conference.

Ongoing fuel and vehicle tax revenue have fallen every year since 2004. Today, 38 percent of Michigan's major roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition and 28 percent of the state's bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. With this declining monetary support, it’s no surprise that Overdrive.com’s 2010 highway report card rated Michigan highways second worst in the country.

“We’re urging lawmakers to reinvest in funding for road and bridge projects and to secure all available federal match money so we can offer residents and businesses a safe and effective transportation system,” said Jeff Jenks, president of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Directors. 

Every $100 million spent on highway safety improvements results in 145 fewer traffic fatalities over a 10-year period according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Those improvements would be funded if legislators would adopt the bipartisan Transportation Funding Task Force’s (TF2) recommendation to increase transportation investment by $3.6 billion annually. But instead, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MODT) is expecting a 3-percent cut in fiscal year 2010-11 local road funding. In addition, MDOT will leave nearly a half billion dollars in Michigan federal gas tax dollars for other states to grab because the state of Michigan will not meet the federal match requirement.

“In light of today’s economy, lawmakers need to recognize this is also a jobs issue,” said Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. Federal data shows a $100 million investment in transportation improvements yields nearly 4,750 jobs across the economy, with less than 25 percent of those in the actual construction field.

Addition investments in rapid transit and making walkable communities also provide a complementary boost to economic development and building desirable communities.

The MML is offering several transportation related workshops April 14 with speakers from the Michigan Legislature and various state and national transportation organizations. More about the today’s workshops:

  • You complete my streets, April 14, 10:15-11:30 am: How can we build new roads that support motorists, bicyclists, transit systems, walkers, seniors and the handicapped without breaking the bank? Find the answers by learning about Michigan's Complete Streets movement and project planning that incorporates all forms of transportation as a way to build desirable communities. Speakers: Dan Burden, Executive Director, The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Inc.; Karen Kafantaris, Associate State Director, AARP; Jon Switalski, State Representative, Michigan House of Representatives (D-Warren); Jessica Yorko, Councilmember, Lansing.

  • Let’s talk transportation, April 14, Noon-1:15 pm: A new federal bill will help communities that collaborate afford regional high-speed rail and other transit projects. The Sustainable Communities Partnership, supported by USDOT, HUD and EPA, represents a shift in how federal agencies view transportation as it relates to land use, housing, community development and the environment. See how this shift in policy will impact communities and transportation funding into the future. Speaker: John Robert Smith, CEO and President, Reconnecting America.

  • What’s up with our roads? And what’s going on with all that stimulus money? April 14, 1:30 - 2:45 pm: Experts will discuss accomplishments following the 2009 Transportation Funding Task Force report as well as the status of existing federal stimulus projects, reauthorization of the federal road funding law (SAFTEA-LU), the prospect of a second stimulus proposal, and a U.S. House of Reps. proposal to exempt Michigan from its federal match requirement. Speakers: Ron DeCook, MDOT director of government affairs; Bill Hamilton, HFA transportation analyst; and State Sen. Jud Gilbert, of R-Algonac.

About the MML
The Michigan Municipal League proactively represents municipalities to help them sustain highly livable, desirable and unique places within the state. Founded in 1899, the League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. For more information on MML, please visit mml.org.

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