Road relief on the wayPublished 8:48am Monday, March 17, 2014
Some relief is on the way for motorists tired of pothole-filled roads caused by the unusually cold and snowy winter.
On Wednesday, the state legislature passed a bill that includes $100 million for winter road maintenance and another $115 million for special road projects determined as high priority by lawmakers and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The bill passed 30-5 in the Senate and 106-2 in the House.
“Roads are an important part of our concern,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “In most cases, this is simply going to make whole the budget that has been depleted in most of our communities because of the extraordinary weather we’ve had and the huge increased costs well beyond the budgeted amount expected.”
The first $100 million for fixing winter road issues will come out of the general fund through Public Act 51.
Of this, Berrien County will receive nearly $900,000 and Cass County approximately $335,000.
Niles is set to receive about $49,000, while Buchanan will get about $20,000, Dowagiac $27,000, Cassopolis $8,000 and Edwardsburg nearly $5,000.
Joe Ray, Niles public works director, said his road maintenance budget is about on track. He said the $49,000 could help depending on where it can be used.
Townships in Berrien County will be covered by the Berrien County Road Commission’s share of approximately $666,000. The Cass County Road Commission is set to receive nearly $290,000.
Proos said the money would be made available as soon as Gov. Rick Snyder signs the bill, possibly in the next couple days.
“I’d be surprised if it takes longer than that,” he said.
The additional $115,000 million would go toward projects determined through MDOT based upon need and with the input of the legislature.
“We’ve got a half a billion dollars invested in roads in the last three years and I expect it will continue to address our road concerns with future commitments,” Proos said.