For the past two years the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved the use of Public Act 283 to levy a .5 mill to fund roadway improvements for 2014 and 2015. After the two years, nearly 70 miles of road improvements were done and all the money raised was spent in Washtenaw County. Some of the improvements include Saline-Milan Road, Huron River Drive, Scio Church Road, North Territorial Road.
The Board of Commissioners used this funding source following nearly two decades without a transportation funding increase at the state level. Michigan ranks last in the nation in transportation funding per capita. According to the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) dashboard for 2014-2015 Washtenaw County has over 2,432 centerline miles of federal aid roadways (centerline miles is a measurement of total road segments’ length in miles, regardless of the number of lanes), Washtenaw County has
179.70 miles are in good condition
377.40 miles are in fair condition
315.24 lane miles are in poor condition
Taking care of the roads takes money, and there has been a lack of funding for many years to all road agencies. In the past year, the state legislature developed a transportation package,signed by Governor Snyder, that would raise up to $1.2 billion dollars per year. However, the new state funding package will not be fully phased in until 2021.
The first half of the funding package will be generated from an increase in vehicle registration and fuel tax increases (approximately $600 million); the other half of the $6 million is coming from the State’s General Fund (which will be taken from other state budgets).
The Washtenaw County Road Commission has developed a plan of proposed projects to be funded if the millage passes. If approved:
20% of funds $1.5 million raised would go to improving the county-wide non-motorized transportation network
$7.2 million would be raised annually
Repair 200 miles of roads
Cities/Villages would get an amount proportional to what was raised in their borders, the remaining funds would go to the Road Commission on behalf of the Townships
All funds would stay in Washtenaw County
The Road Commission has already developed a map of proposed projects that would be done in each community based upon this request.
Ensuring that the roads in Washtenaw County stay in good repair is important to the long term operations of the transportation network. Cars and trucks are not the only users of the system, each day people walk or bicycle on our roadways in the county, as well as the buses of numerous transit agencies, such as The Ride, Western Washtenaw Area Value Express, and People’s Express. Keeping the roads in good working order is good for the residents and visitors to our county. As a reminder, the funding that comes from the federal government that WATS programs can only be spent on roads designated as eligible for federal aid . There are many local roads that these funds cannot be spent on.