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$3.9 billion deficit for Michigan roads, leaders discussing options for closing gap

A recent report by Public Sector Consultants says the billion-dollar deficit has been years in the making. Now, leaders are working to find ways to close the gap.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Michigan's roads need a lot of work and repairs, but the state needs a lot more money to fix them.

Rob Coppersmith with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association says the shortfall is because of increased fuel efficiency in cars, trucks, electric vehicles and upgrading technology, all taking away from the state's gas tax income, typically used for road repairs.

"We're watching our revenue streams decline rapidly and the report identified a $3.9 billion shortfall in this area," said Coppersmith.

 A new report addresses Michigan's road funding crisis in 2023.

"The 3.9 is really just a starting point," said Coppersmith. "The report only talks about fixing and maintaining our current system. So, wouldn't even consider additional on ramps and off ramps to communities that have been asking for them."

The report, published by Public Sector Consultants, gives a few ideas on how Michigan can work to make up some of the funding gap.

"Registration fees and tolling are all just options that should be considered to try to get us to that number that we need to kind of correct, you know, change our trajectory as far as road funding is concerned," said Coppersmith.

The report says regular maintenance to keep the roads in good shape rather than waiting for them to crumble could save the state three to seven billion dollars a year. 

The state already spends around $9 million to $16 million dollars per year to maintain its road and transportation network.

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