GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Transportation has put together an estimate of what each Michigan city and county will receive if a statewide measure to fund roads is approved by voters in May.
If passed, the measure to increase the state sales tax — the result of an 11th-hour deal in last year’s lame-duck session — would trigger laws for a new $1.2 billion annually to be dedicated to roads.
MDOT figured out the numbers based on the state’s formula outlined in Public Act 51. The estimate shows what an area’s current level of funding is and what it will be over the next three years if the measure passes.
“Of course it’s critically important to Grand Rapids that this statewide roads millage pass,” Mayor George Heartwell said Tuesday night.
For the city of Grand Rapids, the statewide tax hike’s passage would mean about $9 million more in road funding from the state each year. Without it, Heartwell said, and even considering a measure Grand Rapids voters approved in May of last year, the city will be about $9 million short each year.
“We made the commitment at the local level. Our voters made the commitment at the local level. They said we’re willing to pay that additional income tax for 15 years to get good roads, but we expect that the state will come through with their share,” said Heartwell. “This additional amount of funding is what we projected would be needed in order to get our roads to the condition that we can be proud of in 15 years, by the end of the current income tax increase.”
If the millage passes, Kent County would see funding go up by more than $20 million.
In Ottawa County, it would go up by about $11 million a year, Muskegon County would get an about $6 million bump and Kalamazoo County would see an about $9 million increase.
“People are driving on these roads and we’re going to see them get a whole lot worse before they get better,” said Heartwell. “The roads are going to be deteriorating. I hope that people recognize it’s our responsibility as the people of the state of Michigan to support these roads to make sure we’ve got good infrastructure in place and that we support it.”