Last update: 11/30/2021


Why The U.S. Hates Roundabouts - Youtube - Youtube, Cheddar 


The Big Problem With Cloverleaf Interchanges - Youtube - Cheddar Explains 



How The Interstate Connected And Divided America - The Lightbulb Moment - Youtube - Cheddar


Last update: 5/5/2021

This is a grab bag of links to roads related news stories.  It gets updated whenever something interesting hits the news media.  As an example of what's in the list, we've linked to over 100 reports on the 2015 MDOT budget battle, every gruesome moment as reported by the Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Livingston County papers. 

We've found links to coverage of the Federal Highway Bill, WALLY, mass transit efforts, Michigan rail, Regional planning organizations like SEMCOG, the RTA, etc. etc. etc. 

You'll also find links to MDOT's Youtube channel, where highway and bridge engineering and projects are documented, Michigan's Paser road ratings and a couple of guidebooks explaining Paser.  Happy hunting.


Stage Routes 1873 Livingston County Directory

1873 Livingston County Directory, p55, Michigan County Histories and Atlases, University of Michigan


The History of Roads in Michigan, by Dorothy G. Pohl, Managing Director for the Ionia County Road Commission, and Norman E. Brown, retired MDOT Act 51 Administrator. It was presented to the Association of Southern Michigan Road Commissions on December 2, 1997

The tiny story about 160 years of simultaneous evolution and devolution of Michigan public road policy.  Read for hints of why Michigan roads rank at the Nation's bottom.

Transportation in Michigan History, by Philip P. Mason, Sequicentennial Series, 1987

The Great Sauk trail was first improved in the 1830s. Largely as a result of the activities of Father Gabriel Richard, Michigan Territory's delegate, Conqress authorized the survey of a road from Detroit to Chicago in 1824.


At first, surveyors planned to build the road in a straight line between the two cities. When the plan proved impractical, they decided to follow the well-marked Sauk trail, which bypassed swamps, lakes and other natural obstacles to good travel. Thus, the Chicago Road, or US-12, as it was later called, came into being.


The St. Joseph trail ran east and west through the second tier of counties from Detroit to St. Joseph. This route became the famous Territorial Road, now basically following the route of I-94. The Grand River trail provided the course for the road that became US-16, later supplanted by I-96 from Detroit to Grand Rapids. Also running from Detroit was the Saginaw trail, later US-10 and M-54, and an Indian path from Detroit to Port Huron, now traversed by I-94. A section of the Great trail, which connected the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, ran through Michigan from Toledo to the head of Lake Huron. 


Gas stations of California.  An essay in a ton of photographs.


MiDriveBanner 113w35h   - Click for Road speeds, Cameras, Accidents, Construction, Snowplow locations (with and without cameras)

Michigan Transportation Asset management Council (TMAC) road and bridge condition interactive map (Paser)

The Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system, (Paser), developed at the University of Wisconsin and adopted by TAMC, connotes recommended repairs. A fair road is one that warrants preventive maintenance. A poor road needs some type of major structural fix, such as reconstruction. 

Video: MDOT YouTube Channel



What is the “right-of-way” and how do county road agencies manage it?

WCRC Map of Northfield Township Roads, measurements and their total length


4/20/2021   Undoing the Damage of Urban Freeways, Third Way


6/22/2020   Why Diesel Cars are Disappearing, CNBC, Youtube


5/5/2020   Why There Are So Few Pickup Trucks In Europe - Cheddar Examines, Youtube


3/5/2020     How Detroit Turned Trucks Into Luxury Vehicles, CNBC, Youtube






  100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI 48207


The Evolution of [British] Motorway Signs – Part One, by Bryn K Buck, 12/21/2018, Show Me a Sign

The Evolution of [British] Motorway Signs – Part Two, by Bryn K Buck, 12/21/2018, Show Me a Sign

Pre-worboys [British] Road signs, Bryn K. Buck, 3/9/2017, Show Me a Sign  Fonts in British Road Signs, by Chris Marshall

Private landowners and homemade British road signs, by Bryn K Buck, 4/13/2017, Show Me a Sign 

Internationally Recognized Roundabout Signs, Philip Weber, Scott Ritchie, Transportation Research Board, National Roundabout Conference, Vail, CO, 2005

Motorway Services Online, The United Kingdom


State Long-range Transportation Plan

MDOT:   2040 SLRP Webinar Recording – General Public Presentation and Q&A Session





Detroit Free Press:  Toll-free Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge to close until December, by Darcie Moran, 4/24/2020

Livingston Daily:  Deemed an essential worker by the state, Brighton MDOT employee battles anxiety at work, by Kayla Daugherty, 4/5/2020

The Detroit News: Singular Iacocca towered among Detroit auto giants, Daniel Howes, 7/3/2019

He defined the long arc of innovation and ignominy culminating in his unceremonious ouster from Ford Motor Co., his arrival atop Chrysler Corp. and his successful effort to avert the financial collapse of Detroit’s No. 3 automaker.


He was the Motor City’s last supreme automotive leader, an icon credited with birthing some of its most enduring models, with rallying official Washington and American consumers to rescue Chrysler Corp. 30 years before its 2009 collapse into bankruptcy.

The Detroit News: Nearby states raise gas tax as Whitmer road plan idles, Keith Laing, 7/4/2019

Michigan drivers currently pay 26.3 cents per gallon in motor fuel taxes, plus another 16.18 cents per gallon in state sales taxes and an environment regulation fee for a total of 42.48 cents per gallon. Drivers in all states pay an additional 18.4 cents per gallon to the federal government in the form of a national gas tax.


A 10.5-cent per gallon gas tax increase in Ohio took effect July 1, bringing total state taxes at the pump to 38.51 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Illinois hiked its gas tax 19 cents per gallon on July 1, bringing its total to 54.98 cents per gallon.


Jeff Cranson, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said money from the federal government typically covers about 67% of Michigan's road and bridge programs. The Michigan gas tax brings in about $1.1 billion, with a separate tax on diesel fuel bringing another $215 million. Vehicle registrations bring in another $1.2 billion that is also used to bolster the state transportation fund.  Cranson noted that state’s gas tax take is split three ways: 39% goes to state and federal highways; 39% goes to counties; and 22% goes to municipalities.


Infrastructure supporters in Washington say the federal gas tax, which hasn't increased since 1993, should be increased from the current 18.4 cents to about 33 cents per gallon to adjust for inflation.

The Detroit News: Motorcyclists risk 'Russian roulette' under new auto insurance law, Jonathan Oosting, 7/1/2019

“The goal is to drive down the cost for consumers of auto insurance, and we have the most expensive auto rates,” sponsoring state Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said of the new law. “Any of this other stuff that folks talk about is a way to drive up the costs on auto insurance.”


"It's terrible for motorcyclists,” said Vince Consiglio, president of the Michigan ABATE motorcycle advocacy group. “It’s devastating. You could go out and buy full coverage and still be stuck with $50,000 in coverage if a guy hits you.”

The Detroit News: Opinion: Whitmer's gas tax can't guarantee fixed roads, Charles Steele, 6/30/2019

The Detroit News: Finley: Democrats sink Whitmer's 45-cent gas tax, Nolan Finley, 6/26/2019

Democrats would raise just $1.2 billion in new revenue, slightly less than half of what Whitmer wants. And they'd take the money not from the users of highways, as their governor proposes, but from corporations. Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, said the caucus wanted to present additional options to a tax hike, which they may still consider.


Republicans, by contrast, are reportedly looking for more than $1.5 billion in new money. And while they are balking at a huge fuel tax hike, they have conceded that raising user fees should be on the table. GOP lawmakers also are exploring diverting money from other spending priorities to roads, shifting the sales tax on gasoline to the transportation budget and selling state assets.

 Detroit Free Press:  Emails show MDOT let lobbyist steer report on gravel shortage for Michigan roads, Paul Egan, 6/6/2019

The group recommended the consultant MDOT hired, set out the scope of work and how to price the study, and even spelled out the expected findings, according to emails and other records obtained under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act and provided to the Free Press.


“We presume it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway!) that we expect the conclusion to be that there is, in certain definable regions of the state, a looming shortage of aggregates that needs to be addressed,” Michigan Aggregates Association President Doug Needham said in a May 2016 email to then-MDOT director Kirk Steudle.

Detroit Free Press: GOP wants to explore selling Blue Water Bridge, other assets to fix Michigan roads, Paul Egan, 6/5/2019

State Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, told the Free Press on Wednesday the Republican caucus is considering selling a number of state-owned transportation assets, including the Blue Water Bridge, four state-owned airports, and a number of freeway welcome centers.

Detroit News: Wayne County needs billions over decade to fix roads and bridges, Shawn D. Lewis, 5/28/2019

The report, the county's first-ever 10-year Asset Management Plan, which will help develop and implement a plan for roads and bridges, was released Tuesday.

Detroit Free Press:  Price doubles to fix Macomb County's roads, Hackel says, Christina Hall, 5/22/2019

Earlier this year, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments predicted that road funding in its seven-county region (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne) needs to increase from $400 million per year to $1.6 billion per year for 25 years to improve roads to 80% good or fair condition.


It will take an additional $600 million per year over that time period to get roads to 90% good or fair, according to its regional transportation plan.

Detroit Free Press: Flat Michigan revenue means no easy way for Whitmer to 'fix the damn roads', Paul Egan, 5/16/2019

If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants about $2 billion a year more to "fix the damn roads," that extra money is not going to be generated by economic growth, according to recent reports filed by the Senate Fiscal Agency and the House Fiscal agency.

Free Press: Michigan's most dangerous intersections are in metro Detroit: List of top 20, DeJanay Booth, 5/16/2019

According to the post on Michigan Auto Law's website, 145 crashes and 24 injuries were reported at Telegraph and 12 Mile roads. That intersection is followed by Orchard Lake and 14 Mile roads in Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield with 144 crashes, and 18½ Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue in Sterling Heights with 141 crashes.

Detroit Free Press: Lansing plays chicken while Michigan roads get worse, Brian Dickerson, 5/10/2019

MLive:  Analyst warns of big jump in gas prices for Michigan, surrounding states this week, Benjamin Raven, 5/1/2019 

MLive:   Whitmer orders look at auto-insurance pricing on non-driving factors,  Julie Mack, 5/1/2019

Free Press:  Michigan Republicans ghost Whitmer's 45-cent gas tax increase, Paul Egan, 4/23/2019

MLive:  Michigan’s high auto insurance rates are most expensive in America,  Malachi Barrett,  4/19/2019

Michigan residents pay an average annual premium of $2,611, a leap of $372 from last year’s analysis. Out-of-state residents save an average of $1,154 each year by not living in Michigan.

Low-income communities are subject to even more extreme rates. Detroit residents pay an average annual premium of $5,414, according to a new University of Michigan study.

University of Michigan:  AUTO INSURANCE AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY IN MICHIGAN: A CYCLE OF POVERTY,  Patrick Cooney, Elizabeth Phillips, Joshua Rivera,  March, 2019


Free Press:  Experts weigh in on how much Michigan's heavy trucks damage the state's roads,  Paul Egan, 4/19/2019

LANSING — Michigan's highest-in-the-nation gross truck weights are responsible for significant damage to state roads and bridges, despite years of denials from the Michigan Department of Transportation, experts say.

The issue is an important one as residents consider Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's plan to "fix the damn roads" by hiking the tax on both regular and diesel fuels by 45 cents per gallon but not changing Michigan's truck weight laws. The plan would raise an extra $2.5 billion a year — of which $1.9 billion would be spent on roads and bridges.

Livingston Daily: Will MDOT extend U.S. 23 Flex Route to Brighton? Maybe, Jennifer Timar, 4-2-2019

Since it launched, morning peak travel time on southbound US-23 has dropped by about 32 percent, and peak travel time on northbound has dropped by a "comparable" amount

MDOT: Michigan Bridge Conditions: An interactive Statewide Map, 4-3-2019

Livingston Daily:  In Livingston, 1 in 5 bridges are in poor or deficient condition, outpacing state average, Jennifer Timar, 4-1-2019

Free Press:  Whitmer's plan:  Good start, serious flaws,  Christopher C. Douglas,  3/15/2019

Free Press: Slingshot effect? What happens when a car hits a pothole, Eric D. Lawrence, 3-13-2019

TRIP: Modernizing Michigan’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges, March, 2019

Free Press: Report: Michigan doesn't have money to fix deteriorating roads, Kristi Tanner, 3-12-2019

In Michigan, TRIP estimates the bad roads are costing drivers $4.6 billion a year. That's $646 per driver.

In its report, TRIP summarizes research by Cornell University that shows every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges equates to an additional $4 to $5 in future repairs. 

Free Press: As Whitmer makes case for higher gas taxes, remember what cuts did to Michigan, John Gallagher, 3-12-2019

Free Press: Does Michigan have the worst potholes? Evidence suggests yes, Eric D. Lawrence, Christina Hall, 3-11-2019

Free Press: 7 questions about Gretchen Whitmer's Michigan gas tax increase, Paul Egan, 3-9-2019

Free Press: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to propose 45-cent hike in fuel tax to fund Michigan roads, Paul Egan, 3-4-2019  

Free Press:  Thousands seek to recuperate money for pothole repairs. Payouts are rare. But they happen, Elisha Anderson, 3-1-2019

Free Press: Fixing Michigan's crumbling roads: What about the heavy trucks?, Paul Egan, 3-1-2019 

Free Press: Republican lawmakers get real about Michigan roads, Brian DIckerson, 2-17-2019

Free Press: Contracted work at MDOT cost Michigan an extra $90M, study says, Eric D. Lawrence, 2-15-2019

Free Press: MDOT director: Agency needs $1.5 billion more to fix state roads, Paul Egan, 2-5-2019

Free Press: Ex-Michigan lawmakers have plan to fix roads. You may not like it, Brian Dickerson, 1-31-2019

Free Press: MDOT director on crumbling roads: 'We don't have the money to build it right,' Paul Egan, 1-30-2019

Free Press: For a real roads fix, Michigan must be creative, Ron Fisher

Free Press: Survey: Michigan has the crummiest roads in US, Mike Thompson, 1-14-2019

Free Press: Cheap gas prices could mean new trouble for roads, climate, John Gallagher, 1-7-2019

Free Press: Detroit's mobility options changing faster than we think, John Gallagher, 12-7-2018

Free Press: Why Detroit and Michigan must worry about global warming, John Gallagher, 9-7-2018

Free Press: Infrastructure spending: Which state is falling apart the worst?, Samuel Stebbins, 8-13-2018

USA Today: Trump ignites infrastructure debate despite concerns about funding for highways, railways and airports, Bart Jansen, 2-12-2018


Wyoming PBS:   100 Years on the Lincoln Highway, Wyoming PBS,  6/1/2017



MLive: Top 2016 MDOT and Washtenaw County road projects, Kyle Mattson, 12/2015

MLive: 2016 Stadium Boulevard construction: 'Traffic is going to be bad', Ben Freed, 1/11/2016

MLive: Why more roundabouts are popping up across Washtenaw County, Ben Freed, 1/3/2016

I-96 / US-23 Interchange Powerpoint - MDOT. History of the interchange, plans now in progress

WHMI: 2-19-2016

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - An Ann Arbor bicyclist accused of impeding traffic in Livingston County in eastern Michigan has won an appeal of his $200 ticket. Tim Panagis was pulled over by a Michigan State Police trooper in June. He was ticketed for being in the road as he and other cyclists rode toward the right side of a lane. A circuit court judge found in favor of Panagis last month and reversed a district court's findings.

USA Today: Gas price fell to 47 cents per gallon at one Michigan site, Kevin McCoy, 1/18/2016

WXYZ: Michigan becomes first state to welcome back gas under $1, Max White, 1/17/2016

New York Times: Oil Prices: What’s Behind the Drop? Simple Economics, Clifford Krauss, 1/15/2016

Free Press:  Grab your golf cart, take a drive on Clay Twp. roads, Nicole Hayden, 12/29/2015

St. Clair County’s Clay Township will welcome golf carts to its roads beginning Jan. 29.

A new township ordinance permits golf carts to operate along roads where speed limits of 30 miles per hour or less.

Free Press: 2015: A list of state legislative achievements, inaction, Kathleen Gray, 12/26/2015

Michigan Public Radio: Audit: MDOT broke its own rule on road safety studies, 12/23/2015

Detroit News: Michigan’s surplus tax revenue may boost roads, Chad Livengood, 12/22/2015

Lansing — Michigan lawmakers may have more than $700 million in surplus tax revenue on their hands when they return to the Capitol next month after a four-week holiday break.


The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency revenue forecast released Monday is projecting the state finished the 2015 fiscal year on Sept. 30 with nearly $723 million in extra tax revenue than previously projected in May for the state’s general and school aid funds.


David Zin, chief economist of the Senate Fiscal Agency, cautioned that the surplus funds are largely “one-time” spikes in revenue.  About $179 million of the general fund surplus can be attributed to businesses not cashing in Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit refunds as fast as economists expected.

Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency: Michigan's Economic Outlook and Budget Review, 12/21/2015

  • Fiscal Year 2014-15
  • Fiscal Year 2015-16
  • Fiscal Year 2016-17
  • Fiscal Year 2017-18                                                        

Lansing State Journal:  Embattled MDOT chief Kirk Steudle: 'I sleep at night' Justine A. Hinkley, 12/21/2015

Steudle is an insider’s insider. Like a sports fanatic knows statistics about third-string players, Steudle knows the measurements of obscure intersections in distant corners of this state, and knows the names of the county roads director there.


But he also tries to climb outside of that box whenever he can. When he heard about a new technique for installing bridges in Utah, for example, he sent staffers out there to learn about the process and then put it to use on M-100 in Potterville.

The Hill: Obama's proposed high-speed rail network stuck in station, Keith Laing, 12/20/2015

President Obama is entering his final year in office with one of his most ambitious first-term promises — a nationwide network of high speed railways — largely unfilled.  Obama spoke frequently in his first term about developing the network. He imagined a U.S. rail system that would rival the interstate highway system, citing similar train systems in European countries that are widely popular.


“You still see a strong appetite and strong activity for high-speed rail in this country,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told The Hill on Friday.  “I think as people find themselves in tighter and tighter spaces and congestion gets worse and worse and the task of maintaining the systems we have gets harder and harder, the business case is going to make itself over time,” he said. 

Benton-Harbor Herald-Palladium: 'Exempt' signs go up at RR crossings, Andrew Lersten, 12/6/2015

There have been no trains in Lawrence for 15 years.


But until state laws were changed this year, school buses going to and from the Van Buren Intermediate School District in Lawrence were required to stop at the village's railroad crossings.


On Friday, state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawrence, visited Lawrence and officially unveiled the first railroad crossing "exempt" signs in Michigan.


A school bus stopping at a railroad crossing may not seem like a big deal, but ISD Superintendent Jeff Mills said over time the costs in fuel and labor really do add up. A stop costs an estimated $1, Mills said.  With the high amount of bus traffic going to and from the ISD, the required stopping over the past 15 years adds up to a total of $615,000 in wasted money, he said.


The new law went into effect in October.

Livingston Daily: Protest signs did not work for I-96 neighbor, Jennifer Everbach, 6/5/2015

Traffic noise is a problem for Brighton Township resident Dan Driver.  He lives on top of a hill south of I-96, overlooking the eastbound on-ramp from Spencer Road.  Driver's request for a noise barrier turned into protest signs but his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.  Mark Sweeney, manager of MDOT's Brighton Transportation Service Center, said there are no plans to erect a noise barrier wall between the Driver property and the freeway.


"There aren't enough people affected to justify the cost," Sweeney said. "About three homes per $100,000 have to benefit."

"It's only the homes right on the top of the hill, right against the freeway that experience high decibel levels. … You go one or two homes (away) and the noise isn't as bad," said Sweeney. "His house actually acts as a natural barrier."

Detroit News: MDOT seeks input on 5-year road plan, James Dickson, 12-11-2015

Drivers on Interstate 96 will have another headache to deal with next year if the Michigan Department of Transportation moves ahead with its list of road projects.

Nearly 13 miles of the heavily traveled highway in Oakland County are scheduled to be restored and rehabilitated. The section that will be repaired is from 5 Mile to the I-96/I-696 interchange.

The work comes just two years after another portion of I-96 was totally closed for five months between Telegraph and Newburgh so it could be completely rebuilt. The project cost $148 million. No cost is listed in MDOT’s five-year plan, released this week, for next year’s I-96 project, or any other projects listed.

Free Press: Senate is Considering Bills to Allow Toll Roads, Paul Egan, 12-9-2015

Free Press: Fill 'er up: Michigan has lowest gas prices in U.S., Frank Witsil, 11-30-2015

Livingston Daily, Steel walls rise at US-23 I-96 interchange, Jennifer Eberbach, 12-1-2015

Looking toward next year, Sweeney said to expect a number of ramp closures for bridge beam removal.   In anticipation of these, Brighton Township's zoning board of appeals granted MDOT's request to be allowed to close four ramps overnight nine times each.  Daytime work hours have also been extended for 2016 as they were this year. That means a total of 36 ramp closures lasting 24-hours will be allowed by the township next year.

New York Times, Op-Ed: Let States Finance and Maintain Roads and Bridges, by Henry Petroski, 11/24/2015

Henry Petroski is the author of To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985), The Pencil (1990), and at least a dozen more studies of Success and Failure in Engineering.

New York Times, Op-Ed: To Maintain Roads and Bridges, Charge Drivers a ‘Fee for Service’ Toll, Dan Fullerton, 11/24/2015

Tolls were a bad idea when traffic had to stop at tollbooths. But now tolls can be collected using E-Zpass – with no stopping. The price should be higher when travel is busy – exactly as done by United Airlines. The driver at 3 a.m. can pay little, because that driver does not cost anybody anything. But don’t you wish those extra drivers at 5 p.m. had to pay tolls? A higher price could make them choose a different time or a different way to travel.

Livingston Daily: Livingston County's worst intersections for crashes, Jennifer Eberbach, 11-24-2015

The following five Livingston County intersections saw the most injuries — whether they were fatal, incapacitating or less serious — between 2010 and 2014, according to data compiled by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments:


No. 1  East Grand River Avenue and Old U.S. 23 in Brighton Township

No. 2  The roundabouts at Lee Road and Whitmore Lake Road in Green Oak Township


“There were 7,549 drivers involved in 4,606 motor vehicle crashes in Livingston County” in 2014, according the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning's Michigan Traffic Crash Facts report for Livingston County in 2014.


The Livingston Daily report contains more info, maps, graphs, and charts.

MLive: Are Michigan roads any safer after 5 years of 'super drunk' law?, John Counts, 11-22-2015

MLive: See where Washtenaw County ranks for 'super drunk' driving arrests, John Counts, 11-22-2015

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger said his department has seen a total of 67 high BAC cases out of a total of 529 drunken-driving cases, or about 13 percent since the law took effect on Oct. 31, 2010. He points out that the township doesn't have a downtown or much along the lines of an entertainment district. This is a factor because in general, the fewer bars in an area, the fewer drunken driving incidents.

MLive: See which Michigan counties have the most 'super drunk' arrests, alcohol-related crashes, John Counts, 11-22-2015

MLive: Where are the snow plows? New MDOT program will help Southwest Michigan track them, Linda Mah, 11-21-2015

Using GPS technology, members of the public will be able to see the location of plow trucks and where salt is being applied on the Mi Drive website at The pilot program includes MDOT plow trucks in Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, Van Buren and St. Joseph counties.

Livingston Daily: Man with 9 drunken driving incidents sent to prison, Lisa Roose-Church, 11-19-2015

MLive: Who broke off bipartisan talk on road fix? Depends on which party you ask, Tim Skubick, 11-15-2015

Turns out the Relentless Positive Action governor is the one who hit the pause button. An insider reports Mr. Snyder came to the conclusion that no deal could be reached. The insider also says it was Democratic House leader Tim Greimel who contributed to the demise of the talks.

"We were this close," the source confides, but Mr. Greimel balked at pouring an income tax rollback into the road-fix concrete.

MLive: What Michigan's new road funding rules mean for you, your taxes and your roads, Jonathan Oosting, 11-11-2015

Michigan's current 19-cent per gallon gas tax is below the national average, but motorists here pay more taxes at the pump than they would in most other states because Michigan also applies its 6 percent sales tax to fuel purchases.

At 26.3-cents, Michigan's gas tax would be the 13th highest in the nation, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. Factor in sales tax — which doesn't fund roads — and Michigan would have the 5th highest at-pump tax rate.

Detroit News: Snyder signs road-spending bills with tax hikes, Gary Heinlein,11-10-2015

Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan, said the state will need more than the amount that will be raised to turn around a steady decline in road and bridge conditions but she was philosophical and hopeful.

“The studies say it was a $2.2-billion problem five and six years ago, ...(but) Michigan has been through a decade of recession and this is all we can bite off right now,” Donohue said. “This is a very, very significant step. It’s the first step in 18 years, so who can complain?”

Free Press: Gov. Rick Snyder signs $1.2B road funding package, Paul Egan, 11-10-2015

MLive: Snyder signs long-term road funding plan: 'It's about investing in Michigan's future', Jonathan Oosting, 11-10-2015

Free Press: Snyder to sign road funding package Tuesday, Paul Egan, 11-9-2015

The signing event is planned for 12:30 p.m. at the offices of the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, the lobbying group representing road builders, in suburban Lansing, just east of the city.


Some critics, such as the Michigan Municipal League, said "there simply isn't enough real revenue for roads in this package."   Other critics, such as the tea party group Americans for Prosperity in Michigan, said the plan hikes taxes too much.  The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and MITA are among the supporters of the plan.

Free Press: Metro Detroit itching to get new aid for roads, Kathleen Gray, 11-9-2015

MLive: Snyder's road plan Part B - for bonds - gets an F from both sides, Tim Skubick, 11-9-2015

Detroit News: Michigan road-fix plan becomes 2016 campaign issue, David Eggert, AP, 11-8-2015

Free Press: Editorial: Is Michigan on the road to ruin?, 11-8-2015

Forecasters see little hope the state’s economy will generate enough revenue to replace the $800 million a year that will be diverted to road maintenance by 2021 under the GOP plan. (The first such diversion, a $356 million slice, is scheduled for 2019.)


“I think they’re looking out 10 years or so. The idea that you can do an economic forecast that goes out that far, frankly, is absurd,” said Mitch Bean, former director of the nonpartisan Michigan House Fiscal Agency, and former House chief economist.

Detroit News: Politics of road deal are baffling, Nolan Finley, 11-8-2015

The same is true for when it’s time for future lawmakers to figure out how to fill the $600 million hole the deal is going to blow in the General Fund budget. While nearly everyone says they favor belt tightening over tax hikes, every dollar spent by government has a constituency. When cuts come in education or health care or corrections, and are blamed on the roads bill, resentment of the deal will grow.

MLive: Road-fix deal gets rolling, but will it hit potholes along the way?, Tim Skubick, 11-8-2015

Let's have a show of hands. Everyone who read the headlines that the Legislature passed a $1.2 billion road fix plan, raise your hand.
Now — did you dive into the story to flesh out the details?
The swooshing sound you just heard is hands coming down all over the place, and that's just what the Republicans want.  The war of words will drag on as the D's hope you get past the headlines and the R's hope you don't.

Detroit News: LaHood: White House missed highway bill chance, David Shepardson, 11-7-2015

On Thursday, the House approved a six-year $325 billion plan — far less than the $478 billion over six years the administration proposed earlier this year.

Free Press: Michigan roads need talent as much as a funding deal, Tom Doran, 11-7-2015

MLive: Susan J. Demas: Angry Michigan voters will hate the GOP roads plan, 11-6-2015

Michigan House Fiscal Agency: Legislative Analysis: Road Funding Bills, 11-3-2015

Detroit News: Drivers shouldn’t expect big road gains in a hurry, Chad Livengood, 11-5-2015

The plan is touted as an infusion of an extra $1.2 billion in annual road spending, but it won’t reach the funding milestone until two years after the governor leaves office at the end of 2018.


The plan starts with a combined $452 million increase in higher annual fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees in 2017 that grows to $608 million in 2018. It is followed by gradually earmarking another $600 million of existing income tax revenue in fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021.


As a result of the phased-in funding, Snyder said Wednesday his administration would explore using the new fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees to issue bonds to accelerate road construction projects years before the new revenue trickles in.

MLive: The road funding deal: How they voted, what they're saying about $1.2 Billion Plan, Jonathan Oosting, 11-4-2015

Free Press: How legislators voted on the two main road-funding bills, Kathleen Gray,11-5-2015

Detroit News: Road deal not great but good enough, 11-5-2015

The overwhelming rejection of Proposal 1 in many ways limited what this new Legislature could do. The consensus was that any deal would have to combine tax hikes with general fund money shifted from other spending programs.  Lawmakers took a page from the Affordable Care Act playbook and delayed the pain of the law they passed until they are safely beyond the 2016 elections. That's the sort of cowardice that has marked these deliberations from the beginning.

Free Press: Michigan road funding bill: How we got to a bad deal, Jim Townsend, 11-4-2015

So a road repair package has morphed into a vehicle for dismantling state government by means of draconian cuts to the general fund and a tax-cut on autopilot. Meanwhile, our pock-marked will roads remain quite possibly the worst in the U.S. and the faith of the citizenry in their representatives crumbles. We have to stop electing leaders who hate the government that they claim they want to run. Otherwise, Michigan’s roads and other public goods will continue to be hostages in the GOP’s war with itself.

MLive: Inside Michigan's new road funding deal: fuel taxes, registration fees, tax relief and more, J.Oosting, 11-4-2015

Links to 100+ articles about Michigan roads and the Federal Highway Bill are below [the Read More Button]

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Biden: Bypass legislatures to direct road grants to cities, AP, 11-5-2015

Biden touted the latest $500 million batch of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants awarded last week...  Biden noted that the highway bill now moving through Congress does not include more money for TIGER grants.

New York Times: House Passes $300 Billion Bill to Improve Roads and Bridges, David M. Herzsenhorn, 11-5-2015

The House and Senate bills now go to conference, and a final measure is expected to win passage later this fall.

New York Times: Human Cost Rises as Old Bridges, Dams and Roads Go Unrepaired, Ron Nixon, 11-5-2015

From coast to coast, the country’s once-envied collection of bridges, dams, pipelines, sewage treatment plants and levees is crumbling. Studies have shown that a lack of investment in public infrastructure costs billions of dollars a year in lost productivity, as people sit in traffic or wait for delayed shipments.


The federal Department of Transportation estimates that obsolete road designs and poor road conditions are a factor in about 14,000 highway deaths each year. Research by Ted Miller, a senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which receives financing from the Transportation Department, put the medical cost of highway injuries from poor road conditions at $11.4 billion for 2013, according to the latest data available.

Free Press: Fixing our roads, at the expense of everything else, Paul Egan, 11-4-2015

The deal that whizzed through the GOP-led Michigan Senate at breakneck pace yesterday afternoon and passed the House late last night, relies on the same dangerous, poorly defined $600 million in cuts to the state's general fund that we've lambasted time and again.


What happened? It's possible Snyder and Meekhof find fiscal reassurances in this bill package that aren't apparent to the casual reader (or to the House Fiscal Agency, whose analysis of the bill package paints a dire picture of the impact to the state's budget). That both men have complete confidence in forecasts of economic growth, that Michigan's economy will perform so well that cuts to services will be offset by a new boom.


Maybe they just gave up. Maybe they realized that in Speaker Kevin Cotter's truculent House, they won't get a better deal — that holdouts in the House would object to raising the gas tax and registration fees, not deep cuts to Michigan's state services. That to fix Michigan's roads, they'll have to preside over the evisceration of state government.


Thanks to term limits, neither man will hold office when the full brunt of these proposed cuts bears down on Michigan.

Free Press: Everything we know about the Michigan roads plan, Paul Egan, November 4, 2015

New York Times: Paul Ryan, Pledging Openness, Eases Path for Highway Bill Amendments, David Herszenhorn, 11-3-2015

Free Press: Road funding bills pass Michigan House, Senate finally,  Paul Egan, Kathleen Gray, November 3, 2015

LANSING — Michigan motorists would typically pay about $20 more for their vehicle registration fees and spend about $1.17 more for a 15-gallon fill-up if fee and tax increases passed by the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, as part of a $1.2-billion road-funding plan, become law.


Both chambers passed the bills by the closest of margins - 20-18 in the Senate and 55-52 in the House on the fuel tax. The increase in vehicle fee registrations passed by the bare minimum 54-53.

MLive: Breakthrough: Michigan Senate approves modified road funding plan, sends to House, Jonathan Oosting, November 3, 2015

Detroit News: Senate approves $1.2B road funding package, Chad Livengood, November 3, 2015

MLive: Michigan leaders working to finalize road funding deal: 'Today would be great,' says Cotter, Jonathan Oosting, November 3, 2015

MLive: Snyder seeks 'fiscally responsible' road funding deal as Michigan Senate tries again this week, Jonathan Oosting, November 3, 2015

Free Press: New funding plan would take road design away from MDOT, Paul Egan, 11-3- 2015

LANSING — The design of highway construction projects would be mostly taken away from the Michigan Department of Transportation and delegated to road builders under the latest road funding proposal being considered by the Michigan Senate, the Republican majority floor leader said Monday.

The change would allow the state to more fully enforce warranties on projects when roads don't hold up as long as promised, said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township. Right now, MDOT is responsible for the design of road projects and the state can only collect on warranties if it can show the problem is related to the materials or work provided by the contractor.

MLive: 'Fiscal time bomb' or welcome relief? Income tax rollback linked to Michigan roads plan, Jonathan Oosting, November 2, 2015

MLive: How Michigan road-funding fix unraveled in GOP Senate, Tim Skubick, November 1, 2015

Free Press: Will Snyder give us straight talk or lipstick on roads?, Brian Dickerson, 10-29-2015

MLive: Snyder sees 'strong momentum' for road funding deal despite Senate delay, Jonathan Oosting, October 28, 2015

Detroit News: House registration fee hike trips up Senate road talks, Gary Heinlein, 10-27-2015

MLive: No deal: Road funding plan hits another snag in Michigan Senate, Jonathan Oosting, October 27, 2015

 The Michigan House 400-400-400 proposed plan:

  • $400 million in new revenue raised through a 6.5-cent increase in the gas tax, from 19-cents to 25.5 cents.
  • $400 million in new revenue raised by eliminating the discount drivers now receive on their registration fees when they buy a new car, and increasing fees on electric cars and heavy trucks.
  • $400 million moved from the general fund to fund the roads.

Lansing State Journal: MDOT leader 'unfit' for job, has to go, Justin A. Hinkley, 11/22/2015

In a news release late Wednesday, State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, a former MDOT employee and state employee union official, said he'd introduced a bipartisan resolution citing numerous issues — from idle railcars that cost millions of dollars to state auditors' repeated warnings about weak oversight of MDOT's warranty program — that he says show Steudle is "unfit to lead the department."

MLive: Fuel taxes, registration fees and tax relief: 14 things to know about new House GOP roads plan, Jonathan Oosting, October 22, 2015

Once fully phased in, the $1.24 billion plan would include $64 million a year for public transportation, $461 million for state highways, $461 million for county road agencies and $257 million for cities and villages, according to HFA.

Detroit News: New Michigan roads plan strains budget, but ‘doable’, Chad Livengood, Gary Heinlein, Oct 22, 2015

There are mounting pressures on the state’s general fund, as the House Fiscal Agency outlined earlier this week in a memo. The state could be required to shell out up to $217 million next fiscal year to finance its Medicaid program, a figure that’s expected to grow to $447 million more annually by the end of the decade.

Crains Detroit Business: Michigan Senate to review new House road plan with tax hikes, AP, October 22, 2015

The remaining money for roads, $600 million annually in 2020-21 and less before then, would be transferred from the $9.9 billion general fund, Michigan's second-largest account behind the school fund.

General funds would be reduced by another $200 million because some homeowners and renters would qualify for a higher homestead property tax credit made available to more people.

Starting in 2019, individual taxpayers also would see an income tax cut in any year that general fund revenues outpace inflation. If the provision were in effect now, the 4.25 percent rate would have dropped to 3.92 percent in 2016 and rolled back revenue by $680 million, according to the House Fiscal Agency.

Free Press: Michigan poised for big shift in how it pays for roads, Paul Egan, October 22, 2015

A May study by the Frontier Group and the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group Education Fund found that through the 1970s, about 70% of the cost of highway construction, maintenance and operation was paid for through taxes on road users, with another 10% coming from bonded borrowing, much of which was also expected to be repaid through user fees.

But since about 2005, "the bottom has fallen out of the 'users pay' model of transportation finance in the U.S.," largely due to declining fuel tax revenues, the report said.

In 2012, 48% of the revenues used for road and highway expenses nationwide came from user fees, 10% came from bonding, and the remaining 42% came from general funds and other nonuser revenues, the report said.

Detroit News: Michigan House passes $1.2B road funding plan, Gary Heinlein, October 22, 2015

The nine-bill package now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof welcomed the House action but was noncomittal about its prospects there.

Free Press: Agencies reject discrimination claims by MDOT official, Paul Egan, October 22, 2015

MLive: Winter is coming: See how the Road Commission will prioritize snow and ice removal, Ben Freed, October 21, 2015

MLive: House approves brand new $1.2B road funding plan in late-night session, Jonathan Oosting, October 21, 2015

House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, championed the proposal as a "grand compromise" for his caucus that incorporates key elements of previous plans.

But House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, dismissed it as an "irresponsible and unsustainable" approach to a long-running problem.

Free Press: House passes sweeping roads plan raising gas tax, fees, Kathleen Gray, October 21, 2015

"The income tax rollback, that apparently was the price necessary to push this dreadful package through, is the ugly conclusion to what term limits have brought us," said Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak. "This is a tax cut that is targeted to the very wealthiest to provide a fig leaf to what we’re doing to everybody else. It’s a fiscal time bomb and I don’t think anyone is aware of how explosive this is likely to be."

MLive: Smooth sailing at I-96/U.S. 23 junction as construction proceeds ahead of schedule, Ben Freed, October 16, 2015

MLive: Seeking money for roads, Detroit and Flint, Snyder has his hands full, Tim Skubick, October 13, 2015

Gov. Rick Snyder survived his leg blood clot, but now he needs another operation — a hand transplant, because he is one short.

The governor has one hand out for money for the roads. He will soon have his second hand out for money for the deficit in the Detroit school system, and his third hand, if the operation is successful, is for state dollars for the water system in Flint.

MLive:  New $1.2 billion road funding plan taking shape tonight in Michigan House, Jonathan Oosting, October 21, 2015

MLive: Meekhof goes 'Back to the Future' in push for action on road funding plan, fuel tax increase, Jonathan Oosting, October 21, 2015

MLive: Meekhof urges action on 'last best deal' for Michigan roads, Jonathan Oosting, October 21, 2015

Detroit News: Snyder: $1.2B road-funding talks at an impasse, Gary Heinlein, Chad Livengood, October 13, 2015

MLive: Snyder: Road funding talks reach 'impasse' in Michigan Legislature, Jonathan Oosting, October 13, 2015

Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, offered a similar assessment, telling reporters that negotiations over a potential tax relief component have proved a sticking point. Senate Republicans previously pushed to pair an income tax rollback with any gas tax increase, but Cotter did not offer any specifics as to the current dispute.

MLive: Michigan House Speaker: Roads deal 'close,' plan 'on pace' to hit floor in October, J.Oosting, October 6, 2015

LANSING, MI — Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter "may be able to" support a road funding deal that would generate up to $800 million a year in new revenue, likely through some form of increased fuel taxes or other fees.

Free Press: MDOT seeks input on massive I-275 closure in 2016, October 2, 2015

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning a massive construction project for I-275, which will affect traffic for a year or more. How it affects traffic is something they'd like to hear from the public about.


MDOT announced Friday that construction will begin in the spring of 2016 on I-275 between 5 Mile Road and the I-96/I-696/M-5 interchange. The project will involve replacing 13 miles of concrete, along with repair work on the entrance and exit ramps at each mile road and with 16 bridges along the route.

MDOT Boss Kirk Steudle's Twitter Account:

Background on infrastructure funding (I googled-across these in "Governing," a trade journal that I didn't know existed.)

Governing: How States Make Infrastructure Budgets, Daniel Vock, May 29, 2014

A new survey highlights the different approaches states take to manage long-term construction budgets.

Governing: For States, the Roads End Here, Adrienne Lu, July 2, 2014

Governing: The Road Hazards Ahead for Transportation Funding, Susan K. Urahn, June 25, 2014

 Governing: Localities Want More Say in Transportation Spending, Daniel Vock, June 13, 2014

"Mayors and county officials want Congress to revisit changes it made two years ago in how that money is divvied up. Local leaders say the changes, instituted under the law called MAP-21, disproportionately hit cities and counties. Under the law, Congress not only cut money available for local roads, it also gave local leaders less say in deciding how federal money should be spent by putting states in charge of more of those decisions.

The 2012 federal law put more money toward big highways and less toward local roads. It cut money for bridges and roads that are not part of the National Highway System by 30 percent. Local governments own more than half of those smaller roads. The law also gives states a greater role in determining how to spend federal money on everything from run-down bridges to bike lanes and sidewalks."

Detroit News: Moroun terminal control keeps port authority handcuffed, Laura Berman, September 30, 2015

(In Detroit, corruption is the infrastructure.)

MLive: Road funding among 4 major issues Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to tackle by end of year, Jonathan Oosting, September 22, 2015

Detroit News: Why is it so hard to pass a roads plan?, Patrick Colbeck, September 17, 2015

Detroit News: News Readers Opinions: Lansing needs to fix Michigan’s roads,Lansing needs to fix Michigan’s roads, September 11, 2015

Livingston Daily: Whitmore Lake Road reconstruction 'intense', Jennifer Eberbach, September 11, 2015

"In August, workers began completely redoing Whitmore Lake Road from just north of the southbound U.S. 23 off-ramp at Nine Mile Road/M-36 north to Winans Lake Road.  Really bad dirt and subsoils, which are a weak clay, required that the Livingston County Road Commission and its contractors remove not only the pavement but the subsurface and install a plastic “geosynthetic” surfacing material before it could be repaved."

Detroit News: Gov. Snyder: Progress on roads deal but no agreement, Gary Heinlein, September 8, 2015

Detroit News: Finley: Bipartisan roads deal takes shape in Lansing, Nolan Finley, September 8, 2015

Free Press: MDOT to stop paying for idle railcars, Paul Egan, August 30, 2015

Tim Hoeffner, director of MDOT’s Office of Rail, said details aren’t finalized, but this much is agreed between MDOT and the owner of the cars, Great Lakes Central Railroad: The state will stop the lease payments of $3,000 a day, but the railroad will still promise to make the railcars available to MDOT, should they be needed, for up to five years.

Detroit News: Editorial: Gas price drop should fuel road deal, August 28, 2015


MLive: Governor Snyder and Republicans still can't figure out how to fix Michigan's roads, Susan J. Demas, August 28, 2015

Detroit News: U.S. road deaths rise sharply in ’15, David Shepardson, August 28, 2015

Detroit News: Rep. Greimel: GOP drops ball on fixing Michigan roads, State Rep. Tim Greimel, August 27, 2015

National Law Review: Connected and Autonomous Vehicles - Moving Forward in High Gear, August 27, 2015

WZZM: Eagles Nesting near M-231 Construction become Project Mascots, August 24, 2015

Detroit News: ‘Smart’ freeway rises on I-96, I-696, Michael Martinez, August 24, 2015

"The Michigan Department of Transportation has installed its first sets of sensors and cameras along 20 miles of Interstate 96 and I-696 in Metro Detroit that will be able to “talk” with certain cars to help drivers avoid construction, traffic and weather hazards.  The 17 sensors and cameras — 12 along I-96 and I-696 between Milford Road and Orchard Lake Road, and five at intersections just off the expressway — are small nondescript devices with antennas that have been installed on existing power poles and on top of stoplights.

No cars in showrooms today can connect with the system, but the first car with that capability — the 2017 Cadillac CTS — already is in the pipeline."

Associated Press: Analysis: No roads deal due to shifting funds clash, Dave Eggert, August 22, 2015

The [General] fund is being squeezed by large and difficult-to-estimate tax credits given to the Detroit Three automakers and other large companies in the Great Recession. And in 2017, Michigan will start paying part of Medicaid expansion costs.

Detroit News: Greenwood: U.S. tops Europe in I-75 road test, Tom Greenwood, August 21, 2015

Perception versus reality: If only Michigan would construct its roads to the same standards they do in Europe they’d last for 50 years.  Apparently not, based on the results of a side-by-side comparison of a 1.3 mile test section of European and American pavement poured on Interstate 75 in July 1993. MDOT conducted the experiment to see if it was worth the extra time and money to utilize the European style concrete.


Although the experiment is still ongoing, inspections by MDOT show that after 22 years, the pavement built to MDOT specifications (gasp) is holding up better than the European test section, which is flaking away.

Michigan Radio: The truth behind Michigan's road problems, Jack Lessenberry, August 21, 2015

Detroit News: Editorial: Legislature fails again — and must try again — on roads, August 21, 2015

There is plenty of blame to go around in the latest collapse of negotiations in Lansing on a road funding deal, but a large piece of it falls on an unexpected party: Gov. Rick Snyder.

MLive: Michigan House votes to repeal laws against cursing in front of women, hosting walkathons, J. Oosting, August 20, 2015

Michigan Radio: Driving us to ruin - Michigan lawmakers missed again on road funding, Jack Lessenberry, August 20, 2015

Contrary to what you might think, it is not true that our government in Lansing can’t do anything. Why, just yesterday, the governor reappointed four members to the Michigan Carrot Commission.

MLive: Another road funding push stalls in Michigan House, Jonathan Oosting, August 20, 2015

Free Press: Michigan lawmakers postpone a roads deal until fall, Kathleen Gray and Paul Egan, August 20, 2015

Free Press: Road funding — why talks failed, what comes next, Paul Egan, August 20, 2015

Free Press: How Livonia roads got their names, Gene Scott, August 20, 2015

MLive: Road funding deal may hinge on Detroit Democrats as income tax collection bills advance, J. Oosting, August 19, 2015

Detroit News: Road funding bill on hold until September, Chad Livengood, August 19, 2015

Detroit News: Michigan lawmakers work toward agreement on road plan, Chad Livengood, August 18, 2015

MLive: Michigan road funding bills go to conference committee as Snyder, leaders seek deal, Jonathan Oosting, August 18, 2015

Free Press: Transit money for Detroit could be part of road deal, Kathleen Gray and Paul Egan, August 18, 2015

Crains: New twist in road funding plan: Help Detroit collect income tax from residents working in suburbs, A.P., August 18, 2015

MLive: Road funding talks rev up in Michigan House, Jonathan Oosting, August 18, 2015

Detroit News: This is D-Day for a roads deal, Nolan Finley, August 15, 2015

Detroit News: Editorial: ‘Fair tax’ for roads goes wrong way‘Fair tax’ for roads goes wrong way, August 9, 2015

HometownLife: City of Northville voters reject Roads millage proposal 2-1, Cal Stone, August 5, 2015

Tuesday’s request for additional millage requires the city to ask voters to approve an override of the Headlee Amendment, which rolled back the city’s 20-mill tax limit to 15.8. 


Pat Sullivan, city manager, said he was surprised by the margin of defeat.

MDOT: 2014-2018 Five Year Transporation Program (pdf), January 23, 2014

Traffic: Metro Detroit traffic and traffic cameras, August 10, 2015

Detroit News: Editorial: ‘Fair tax’ for roads goes wrong way, August 9, 2015

A newly formed coalition, Citizens for Fair Taxes, has presented an abysmal solution for fixing Michigan’s roads: raise the corporate income tax to 11 percent from 6 percent in a $900 million tax hike on the state’s job creators.

Free Press: How much would you pay a month for better roads?, Ronald Fisher, August 8, 2015

Most folks support greater investment in road maintenance — 89% in a recent survey completed as part of my research — but everyone is looking for a way for someone else to pay for it.

Detroit News: Greenwood: Truck study draws heavy loads of doubt, Tom Greenwood, August 7, 2015

Detroit News: Noack: Driverless cars are coming, but slowly, William Noack, August 6, 2015

Free Press: Michigan roads' good-bye gift to Tiger David Price: a flat tire, Steve Schrader, August 3, 2015

MLive, Gov. Rick Snyder: Corporate tax hike for roads would undo economic progress, Governor Rick Snyder, August 3, 2015

Michigan needs a comprehensive, sustainable solution to address our aging infrastructure and make our roads and bridges safer for residents for generations to come.  That's something we all can agree on.


We can accomplish this by building on what has made us successful and remembering the challenges of the past, when our state had the nation's highest unemployment and too many of our children had to leave our families to find jobs elsewhere.

MLive: Petition coalition: Corporate tax hike to fix roads is only fair, Mike Jackson, August 3, 2015

MLive: Business tax hike idea will have voters getting mixed messaging, Tim Skubick, August 2, 2015

Citizens for Fair Taxes

Michigan League for Public Policy: Enough is Enough: Business Tax Cuts Fail to Grow Economy, 2015

Michigan Businesses rank 49th in U.S. for Tax Contributions Toward State Revenues

Enough is Enough: Business Tax Cuts Fail to Grow Economy - See more at:
Enough is Enough: Business Tax Cuts Fail to Grow Economy - See more at:

Detroit News: Road tax, sick leave ballot forms get approved, Gary Heinlein, July 30, 2015

Free Press: U.S. Senate passes roads bill; House won’t take up now, Todd Spangler, July 30, 2015

Detroit News: Bigger trucks, heavy loads better for roads? Tom Greenwood, July 30, 2015

Free Press: Disinvestment ties roads, blight together in D.C., Stephen Henderson, July 29, 2015

Awful policy-making streams from Washington like water down slippery rocks these days.

But special mention is due the proposal, now largely dead, to raid blight funding for cities like Detroit to shore up the nearly broke national highway trust fund.

Detroit News: News readers talk Michigan roads, Plan B, July 29, 2015

Free Press: Average age of cars on U.S. roads -- 11.5 years -- breaks record, Greg Gardner, July 30, 2015

MLive: Road fund shortage leads residents to patch their city's potholes, Dustin Block, July 27, 2015

The project's success and relative simplicity led to the launching of a GoFundMe campaign to raise $5,000 with which the group plans to buy enough supplies to address another 120 residential blocks – a sizeable portion of the city's potholes. All labor is donated.

Free Press: Are Michigan roads built to last? Cash is key, Paul Egan, July 26, 2015

MLive: Business groups blast 'dangerous' proposal push to raise Corporate Income Tax for road repairs, J. Oosting, July 24, 2015

Detroit News: Unions push near doubled corporate tax to fund roads, Gary Heinlein, July 23, 2015

Lansing — A union-backed coalition said Thursday it will seek a 2016 ballot proposal to nearly double Michigan’s corporate income tax, creating $900 million in new revenue for an increase in the state road repair fund.


Similar to a plan unveiled by House Democrats last week, the ballot measure would boost the corporate tax on profits from the current 6 percent rate to 11 percent.

MLive, Corporations must pay 'fair share' to fix roads, says Michigan group pushing ballot proposal, Jonathan Oosting, July 23, 2015

Free Press: Halfway into 2015, road funding fix still a mirage, Dennis Kolar, July 23, 2015

Detroit News, Grand Rapids, Detroit train idea taking shape, Leonard Fleming, July 21, 2015

The Detroit to Grand Rapids line isn’t the only one being explored. Preliminary discussions have been underway for months on establishing a rail connection from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. The Michigan Land Use Institute is pushing MDOT officials to study the feasibility of the route using existing freight rails with the hope that it could be operational by 2025.

Detroit News: MDOT: 50-year roads mandate means sky-high costs, Chad Livengood, July 2, 2015

Lansing — Nearly half of a 15-cent gas tax hike the Michigan Senate approved this week would be squirreled away in a “lock box” until lawmakers are satisfied that road agencies are building roads to last “at least” half a century.

The mandate’s creator calls it a quest for better quality. Road officials call it a budget buster.

Oregon Life: Oregon Becomes First State to Try Taxing Drivers By Miles They Drive, Jessica Tomlinson, June, 2015

Detroit News: Metro Detroit roads ranked 4th worst in U.S., Tom Greenwood, July 23, 2015

MLive: Ann Arbor roads rank 23rd worst in Nation, for mid size cities, Ron Fonger, July 23, 2015

"TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit partially funded by road builders and labor groups, ranks the Flint area at the top of its list for mid-sized urban areas with 54 percent of roads in poor condition, costing drivers an estimated $839 in extra vehicle maintenance bills, according to the results of a new report..


Elsewhere in Michigan, Grand Rapids ranked ninth on the large cities list for  poor roads while Lansing (ranked ninth) and Ann Arbor (ranked 23) also rated high on the list of mid-sized cities with the worst roads.


Public Act 51, which requires local communities to match funding for heavy maintenance and local roads, compounds problems in many communities."

Detroit News Editorial: Pave way for road funding compromise, July 23, 2015

Free Press: Halfway into 2015, road funding fix still a mirage, Dennis Kolar, July 23, 2015

Detroit News: Mcity Auto Testing Grounds Open, Daniel Mears, July 20, 2015

MLive: Another round of overnight closures coming to U.S. 23 at I-96, Jack Walsworth, July 20, 2015

Detroit News Op-ed: Senate plan is the path to better roads, Matthew Haworth, July 16, 2015

Detroit News, Detroit cab drivers protest Uber operations, Holly Fournier, Evan Carter, July 15, 2015

MLive: New revenue for Michigan roads? Numbers don't add up for House Republicans, Jonathan Oosting, July 15, 2015

Detroit News: Democrats push nearly $1B tax hike on firms for roads, Gary Heinlein, Chad Livengood, July 14, 2015

Lansing — Democrats called for a $955 million business tax hike to fix Michigan roads Tuesday as major business and municipal groups criticized key provisions of House and Senate Republican plans for ending at least a $1.2-billion shortfall in road repair funding.   The proposal unveiled by House Democrats relies heavily on a business profits tax increase to 9 percent, up from 6 percent. It includes a $20 -million decrease — gained through a proposed renegotiation — in tax credits owed to businesses for expanding or relocating in Michigan.  


Democrats argued that businesses need good roads even more than middle-class Michiganians and should pay a bigger share of the repair tab after getting between $1 billion and $2 billion in tax reductions from Gov. Rick Snyder’s and GOP lawmakers in 2011. Their $1.2 billion plan, which also would raise $133 million from vehicle registration fee changes but no increase in fuel taxes, quickly was dismissed by majority GOP leaders.

Free Press: House mulls 15-cent gas tax hike to fix Michigan roads, Kathleen Gray, July 14, 2015

Detroit News Editorial: Off-shore tax deal may smooth roads, July 14, 2015

The GOP has long pushed a framework for taxing offshore corporate earnings at a much lower rate. Currently, the United States taxes the income companies make at the standard 35 percent corporate tax rate, but only when they bring the money home.

That encourages the offshoring of $2 trillion in corporate earnings — money that could be invested in the U.S. to create jobs and economic growth. It’s also pushed many U.S. corporations to move their headquarters to countries with friendlier tax climates.

Detroit News, Rumors of crumbling infrastructure may be overstated, Robert Krol, UC Northridge, July 3, 2015

Detroit News: MDOT: 50-year roads mandate means sky-high costs, Chad Livengood, July 2, 2015

Lansing — Nearly half of a 15-cent gas tax hike the Michigan Senate approved this week would be squirreled away in a “lock box” until lawmakers are satisfied that road agencies are building roads to last “at least” half a century.

The mandate’s creator calls it a quest for better quality. Road officials call it a budget buster.

MLive: $1.5B roads plan with fuel tax hike, income tax cut approved by Michigan Senate panel, J.Oosting, June 30, 2015

Detroit News: Panel OKs road plan with gas tax hike, income tax cut, Chad Livengood, June 30, 2015

Free Press: Senate panel passes gas tax increase, income tax cut, Kathleen Gray, June 30, 2015

MLive: Meekhof looks to hit gas on new road funding plan that pairs fuel tax bump, income tax rollback, J.Oosting, June 30, 2015

MLive: Proposed Senate road fix plan calls for gas tax boost and income tax rollback, Tim Skubick, June 30, 2015

Free Press: Senate plan for roads includes 15-cent boost in gas tax, K. Gray, June 29, 2015

Associated Press: Addressing gridlock will require more road investments, Alisha Green, June 28, 2015

MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson said the new funding being discussed for the state’s roads would not be aimed at adding capacity.  But he noted that the money could address traffic congestion through improving poor pavement conditions that can slow down drivers.  Cranson said the state is looking at other options for meeting people’s transportation needs, too.

“But people will still drive automobiles for a very long time, and a multimodal Department of Transportation needs to be cognizant of that in planning even as the state and country struggle through a decades-long transportation funding crisis,” Cranson said.

MLive: 'Nothing off the table' as Michigan Senate seeks road funding solution this summer, J.Oosting, June 22, 2015

Detroit News: Michigan lawmakers debate how to regulate car services [Uber Lyft], Alisha Green, June 14, 2015

MLive: Michigan House approves $1.1B roads plan, votes to eliminate Earned Income Tax Credit, J.Oosting, June 10, 2015

Detroit News: House approves $1.2B road package that kills tax credit, C.Livengood, June 10, 2015

Detroit News, House paves way for $1.2B road funding vote, C. Livengood, G. Heinlein, June 9, 2015

Detroit News: Rep. Dingell to lawmakers: Get courage to fix roads, Chad Livengood, May 29, 2015

“You all need to tell your state legislators to get some balls,” the Dearborn Democrat said during Friday session on the final day of the Mackinac Policy Conference. “If we don't want to be a Third World country, we’ve got to fix our infrastructure.”

Detroit News: Bill Ford: Automakers must embrace mobility changes, Michael Martinez, May 28, 2015

He said in the near future, transportation in cities will look vastly different than it does today. Cars, bicycles, subways and other systems will all be connected and communicate with each other, and city dwellers will have more options than ever with the continued rise of car-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Zipcar.

Detroit News: This is why we can’t have nice roads, Dan Calabrese, May 28, 2015

The problem is not that it costs money to maintain Michigan’s roads. It costs money to maintain every state’s roads. The problem is that once other constituencies are used to getting money, you can never re-direct it to fix the roads without said constituencies shrieking. And if there’s one thing no politician ever wants, it’s someone shrieking at them.

Detroit News: Snyder: House GOP road plan is costing jobs, Chad Livengood, May 28, 2015

Detroit News: Don’t pave roads on the backs of the poor, Gilda Z. Jacobs, May 27, 2015

Detroit News: Lawmakers OK $40M cut in economic development aid, Chad Livengood, May 26, 2015

Detroit News: Budget plan: More for roads, less for films, Gary Heinlein, Karen Bouffard, May 26, 2015

Lansing — Lawmakers began approving agreements on a 2016 state budget Tuesday that will pour $400 million of general fund money into road repairs but dramatically cut the amount available to lure filmmakers and television producers to Michigan. The film incentive program — funded at $50 million last year — would drop to $25 million, but only $6 million of that would be dedicated to film and TV incentives. That's likely not enough to attract superhero movies like the "Batman v. Superman" flick that was filmed in Michigan last summer.

Free Press: In road funding fix, don't trade one problem for another, Doug Rothwell, May 23, 2015

Detroit News: Concrete roads may fix themselves, Tom Greenwood, May 22, 2015

Over in Holland, a microbiologist by the name of Henk Jonkers at Delft University of Technology has developed a concrete that contains built in bacteria that fills in cracks after they form.  The bacteria is enclosed by miniscule pellets that resemble a fine white powder that is mixed into wet concrete prior to pouring. The pellets contain dormant Bacillus and/or Sporosarcina bacteria plus their food source, which is calcium lactate (a form of baking powder).  When a crack forms and water seeps in, the pellets turn into a healing version of Pop Rocks in which the bacteria breaks out of its shell and starts scarfing down that yummy calcium lactate.  The bacteria then excretes limestone that then fills in the cracks, which then prevents more water from seeping into the concrete. 


Cool alert: The bacteria can live in its dormant state for up to 200 years without food until it gets wet, then it returns to life like limestone-loving Sea Monkeys.

Detroit News: GOP bid to use Pure Michigan funds for roads criticized, Chad Livengood, May 22, 2015

Detroit News: Tuk-tuk taxi maker aims to make inroads in U.S., Thomas Peipert, May 22, 2015

Denver — They’re ubiquitous in Asia, swarming the bustling streets of Bangkok, New Delhi and Beijing.

Now, a company that manufactures the tuk-tuk — the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws that have moved the masses for more than half a century — aims to make inroads in the United States.

Detroit News: Michigan's rural roads ranked worst in U.S.A., Tom Greenwood, May 19, 2015

According to a report by transportation research group, Michigan ranks worst nationally for its poor quality of rural roads and 14th worst for its rural bridges.

Federal funds for highways, bridges and transit makes up about half of all spending on infrastructure. The Highway Trust Fund provided $1.21 billion last year for state and local projects in Michigan. That allocation is 14 percent less than the $1.41 billion Michigan received in 2010, due to declining revenues from the 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal gas tax.

Free Press: GOP plan to fix Michigan roads depends on growing economy, Kathleen Gray, May 14, 2015

Free Press: Lawmaker to MDOT: Cut your losses on idle railcars, Paul Egan, May 13, 2015

Detroit News: Minority leader: Road funding plan relies on 'gimmicks', May 13, 2015

Detroit News: Michigan needs toll roads, Joe Lapointe, May 7, 2015

Free Press: 10 possible road-funding plans lawmakers may consider, Paul Egan, Kathleen Gray, May 6, 2015

Free Press: Light Turnout as voters decide sales tax hike for roads, Robert Allen, May 5, 2015

Free Press: Which Michigan county has the worst roads?, Kristi Tanner, May 3, 2015

Detroit News: Audit faults MDOT’s monitoring of overweight trucks, Gary Heinlein, April 30, 2015

Based on 2013 and 2014 data, the Michigan Auditor General said, MDOT undercharged for 105,244 overweight/oversized vehicle permits, couldn’t document compliance procedures against 198 illegal billboards and hadn’t inspected the state’s 29 junkyards in nearly 30 years.

Free Press: State of Michigan roads go from poor to terrible, Eric Lawrence, March 29, 2015

Lansing State Journal: Innovative 'bridge slide' planned for M-100 project, Rachel Greco, 2015-03-13

Detroit News: Audit finds some Michigan bridge inspections lacking, March 13, 2015

MDOT is required to inspect more than 5,800 state-owned bridges at least every two years.

MLive: How bad are Michigan roads, really?, Jonathan Oosting, March 2, 2015

Free Press:  Audit faults MDOT oversight of flawed road projects, Paul Egan, February 20, 2015

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Transportation's monitoring of road warranties — intended to hold contractors responsible for poor work — is ineffective because the department doesn't properly inspect and follow up on the completed projects and make sure contractors correct deficiencies, Auditor General Doug Ringler said in a report released today.

Free Press: Michigan Senate Republicans lay out 90-day agenda, Kathleen Gray, January 27, 2015

MLive: Decades of underfunding have given Michigan some of the worst roads in the nation, Pat Shellenbarger, April 8, 2014

Detroit News: Truck weight limits start on Lower Peninsula highways, March 13, 2015

Detroit News: MDOT: 58% of pump houses in poor condition in Michigan, Tom Greenwood, August 14, 2014


Video: MDOT YouTube Channel


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