Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other advocates of more road funding point out that Michigan needs a steady stream of $2 billion or more to fix all the crumbling roads in the state, but Lansing would have to give all that money to Macomb County – one of 83 counties in the state – in order to fix all of Macomb’s transportation problems.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel announced at a press conference this morning that the county needs more than $2.3 billion to reconstruct all of its “poor condition” roads. In other words, if Whitmer’s plan was adopted Macomb would need all of that first year of new state funding to put its roads and bridges back to good condition.
Hackel is unveiling an updated high-tech, online road map, the first of its kind in the state, that identifies the location and replacement cost for every Macomb roadway that’s in bad shape. The total price tag is estimated in excess of $2.3 billion, but that’s only part of the story.
That looming repair bill refers just to the 1,773 miles of roads under the jurisdiction of the county Department of Roads. Macomb’s cities and villages have responsibility for another 2,300 miles of roads that add substantially to the county’s overall expense for transportation upkeep.
Hackel said Tuesday that the county’s dilemma offers a stark picture of what the governor is up against in trying to bring all roads up to good condition, especially in urban and suburban areas where multi-lane roadways and bridges are extremely expensive to reconstruct. Ideas offered by state legislators to award counties with more control over their current funding, the county executive said, fail to grasp the big picture.
“It’s an impossible task to fix. We can’t fix it with the funding we have,” Hackel said at a Macomb Community College forum for the Society of Active Retirees (SOAR).
According to the new interactive map (accessible at macombgov.org), the cost to repair just 0.81 miles of a multi-lane county road in Eastpointe is nearly $5 million. In Center Line, replacing 1.15 miles of pavement will cost $7 million.
But the county is also up against a new and growing problem – replacing subdivision streets in the townships. Many of these subdivisions, built decades ago, have streets littered with potholes and pieces of broken concrete.
Township roads are the county’s responsibility, yet in Macomb, the state’s third-largest county, a single township consisting of 30-plus square miles can present more of a financial burden than an entire county in northern Michigan.
For example, it will cost $334 million to fix all the subdivision roads in poor condition in Macomb Township, and $332 million in Clinton Township. In neighboring Shelby Township, the price tag is about $195 million.
Yet, the amount of road dollars the county will receive from the state this year to maintain all roads and bridges in those three communities is approximately $24 million.