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infrastructure

A crumbling road with a large pothole in the asphalt
Chris UK / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s still waiting to see a practical alternative to her proposal to increase the gas tax to pay for road improvements. She told a small business convention that Michigan has delayed tough choices for decades – and the result is roads and bridges ranked among the worst in the country.

Whitmer has called for a 45-cent-per-gallon increase in the fuel tax. She says past governors and legislators have moved money around without actually increasing funding for roads and bridges.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is spending $100 million on what it calls the most expansive infrastructure investment in the city’s recent history this construction season.

It includes the resurfacing of nearly 100 miles of major and residential streets throughout the city, along with the rebuilding or rehabbing of five bridges.

Michigan highway
Logan / Adobe Stock

Almost half of Michigan's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. That's according to a new report from a national transportation research group called TRIP.

TRIP says driving on rough roads costs the average Michigan driver between $500 to $800 dollars a year per vehicle.

persons feet next to a manhole cover that reads "storm water"
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Congressman John Dingell passed away Thursday. Two of his longtime friends from across the aisle, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley, reflect on the legacy of “the Dean.” Plus, Republicans push back against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s attempts to restructure the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. And we end the week with a cocktail that sounds like spring, but tastes like winter citrus.

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder still can’t build a bridge between a union and a construction trade association to end a roadwork stoppage across the state.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District / Facebook

 


Years of neglect have taken a terrible toll on school buildings in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The district has just completed a review of its facilities, and the result is stunning.

The cost to fix Detroit school buildings is $500 million. If the district doesn't address the problems soon, in just five years that cost will balloon into the billions.

Universtiy of Michigan president Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Mackinac Island Policy Conference wraps up today. One of the people who spent some time on the island this week was University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel.

Stateside's Lester Graham spoke with Schlissel about what he wanted to get out of his time there, as well as the role of higher education in addressing statewide legislative priorities.

Wikipedia

We are getting closer to the age of the autonomous vehicles, whether we like it or not.

Driving to work could soon be opening a laptop rather than sitting behind the wheel. And while this is expected, driverless cars will likely bring much more unexpected change.

Mark Wilson, professor and program director of Urban & Regional Planning at the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, talked with Stateside today about what some of these changes may be. 

Abdul El-Sayed
Bridge Magazine

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed announced an ambitious infrastructure plan today, saying that addressing the problem of crumbling infrastructure in the state is a centerpiece of his campaign.

El-Sayed is proposing a multi-sector statewide infrastructure bank devoted to investing in four key areas: transportation (including roads, bridges and public transit), water, school buildings, and energy with a goal of bringing Michigan to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Whitmer's plan to rebuild Michigan

Apr 4, 2018
profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Four years ago, I went to see Mark Schauer, then the Democratic nominee for governor. He had rightly criticized the Republicans for letting the roads fall apart, and vowed to fix them.

But when I asked how he was going to get the money for that, he really didn’t have an answer. My guess was that he didn’t want to risk losing votes by saying he was going to raise taxes. I left wondering if he deserved to win.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Appearing today in an automotive repair shop in Southfield on the first stop of her "Fix the Damn Roads Tour," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her strategic plan for rebuilding the state's infrastructure.

Whitmer called for a bold investment in a state infrastucture bank to fix Michigan's crumbling roads, bridges and water systems.

Her plan also would build a new Soo Lock and connect more Michiganders to high-speed broadband internet.

Michigan's infrastructure is falling apart

Mar 8, 2018
Repair trucks on a Michigan road.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

I’ve always been leery of people obsessed with a single issue, who see the world entirely through some narrow prism. Marxists tend to be like that, if there are any left.

Single-issue people tend to be terribly boring. But I find that I too am becoming more and more obsessed with a single issue, and I think you should be too. I’m not talking about the coming workers’ revolution, however, but something else: Michigan’s infrastructure. 

Courtesy of Victor Li

Michigan isn’t alone in the struggle to repair crumbling roads and bridges.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America's infrastructure a grade of "D" based on years of underfunding and delayed maintenance.

Victor Li may have the key to solving this nationwide struggle.

movingmacomb.org

One of the state’s busiest highway corridors should start getting some much-needed maintenance this week.

Portions of I-696 in Macomb and Oakland counties are literally crumbling. Some motorists have reported getting hit by flying chunks of road debris.

The situation has forced the Michigan Department of Transportation to do some emergency repairs.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder wants the public to turn up the heat on state lawmakers over road funding.

At a Michigan Department of Transportation facility in Oakland County Thursday, Snyder said his push is partly about the entire 2019 budget he proposed this week. It has an additional $150 million for infrastructure projects.

But Snyder also wants to bring in another $175 million of what he calls some “one-time” supplemental money that’s already elsewhere in the budget to pay for some additional projects sooner.

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in Michigan are in pretty bad shape. Michigan does not have the money to tackle some of the biggest projects.

Increasingly, transportation officials are turning to the private sector for help. These public-private partnerships (P3s) are seen as a way to make improvements more efficiently. The real question, though, is whether they really are more efficient or whether they end up costing taxpayers more?

Michigan continues to collapse, with no solution planned

Oct 25, 2017
Workers repair the water main break in Farmington Hills.
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

More than a quarter of a million people in Michigan’s richest county have to boil their drinking water this week. If you haven’t heard, that’s because a four-foot wide water transmission line apparently broke in Farmington Hills Monday night.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A new study says Michigan's transportation system is better prepared for climate change than many other Midwest states.

But it's still not enough, according to the Midwest Economic Policy Institute.

Study author Mary Craighead says Michigan will see higher temperatures, heavier rains, increased erosion, and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles.  That will damage bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Craighead says it's an economic issue for the whole country, not just Michigan.

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


Gov. Rick Snyder signed a $1.2 billion road funding package in 2015 that called for increased vehicle registration fees and gas taxes, many of which went into effect this year.

In an interview with Stateside this week, Michigan Department of Transportation director Kirk Steudle said the state was “still trying to manage the deterioration,” but the overall quality of roads was yet to rise, despite the fresh tax revenue. But he noted the general fund component of the 2015 funding package has yet to kick in.

Inside the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Take the combined brainpower of Michigan State, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University and apply that to solving the water infrastructure problems we face not only in Flint, but across Michigan.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

As much of the nation focused on testimony last Thursday from former FBI Director James Comey, there were some who headed to the White House to talk infrastructure with the President and Vice President.

Among the group of some 40 officials was Candice Miller, former congresswoman and now Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

As the face of Michigan during the White House meeting, Miller delivered a message about “handicaps and restrictions” that cost money and time on infrastructure investment.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Progressive Democrats are using Flint’s water crisis as a backdrop for a battle over the federal budget.

On Thursday, a group of Flint residents and Progressive Democrats gathered outside the city’s water treatment plant to promote an alternative to President Trump’s budget plan.

Midwest Energy has been laying fiber optic cables over its existing electric network.
MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS

There has been much talk of upgrading Michigan’s aging infrastructure in recent months. In Lansing, that conversation has focused on roads, bridges, and water pipes.

But what about internet access?

High-speed internet is a modern necessity. Regions without reliable high-speed internet are at an economic disadvantage.

And just as rural parts of the country were the last to get electricity in the 20th century, nowadays rural communities across Michigan lag behind urban areas in access to the internet.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two sticking points in Lansing lately are prisons and infrastructure.

Cracked and broken roads
nirbhao / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Roads, bridges, sewer lines, water systems and all the other infrastructure in the state is, by multiple assessments, in trouble in Michigan.

Two studies say the state needs to spend $4 billion a year. The governor wants at least $1.2 billion a year more to get infrastructure back into decent shape.

None of that has happened.

Across our state and across our country, we're talking about infrastructure: How it's failing, what that means, and what it's going to cost to fix.

What if the issue with our infrastructure isn't that we're not spending enough, but that we've already spent too much and spent it the wrong way?

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

How much do you trust state government and its ability to do its job?

Courtesy of Lawrence Technological University

Detroit and Ann Arbor are dotted with buildings designed by Albert Kahn, one of the region’s celebrated architects.

He’s responsible for the Fisher Building in Detroit, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and the Highland Park Ford plant, to name only a few.

Governor Rick Snyder will deliver his seventh State of the State address tonight. My guess is that not many people will watch or listen; with this speech, they hardly ever do.

Abraham Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg that “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here.”

Lincoln was as wrong as he could be about his own words.

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