PROOS: Boosting road funding this year by $175 million

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Southwest Michigan residents are keenly aware of the difference between the condition of our roads and those of our neighbors.

We also understand the importance of having quality roads. We use our roads to take our children to school and to get to work. Businesses and farmers depend on the roads for transporting their goods and products and enabling customers to get to their stores.

Having good roads is about ensuring driver safety, reducing costly car repairs and competing for new jobs and investment.

Also, thousands of people in Southwest Michigan and throughout our state depend on tourism for their livelihoods. We want out-of-state visitors to return home touting their wonderful vacation, not talking about our potholes.

That is why I recently voted for legislation to invest $175 million more this year to improve roads and bridges throughout the state.

The governor’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 recommended moving up a scheduled $175 million increase in 2020 to 2019 — in addition to already planned increases for next year.

House Bill 4321 would use existing resources to accelerate the $175 million boost in state and local road funding this year — on top of $600 million in additional road funding already in this year’s budget.

Our roads need this increased investment as soon as possible. Thanks to responsible budgeting and a growing economy, we have surplus funds available now that we can put into improving our aging roads and bridges.

This smart, productive and efficient use of hardworking taxpayer dollars would benefit Michigan families and job creators for years to come.

As we complete the fiscal year 2019 budget, I will also work to ensure that we build on this road funding commitment going forward.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties.