LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck recently voted in favor of putting more money toward roads as supplemental funding for Michigan’s 2017-18 budget.
Colbeck warned, however, that if the state continued to just spend more dollars in the same way it always has that our road problems will never truly be fixed.
“Everyone is frustrated with the state of Michigan’s roads, but part of our problem is that too many people in Lansing feel that raising more revenue is the answer,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “While I’m pleased to have voted in favor of this increase in funding from existing revenue because it was a proper prioritization of previously unappropriated money that would have otherwise been misspent, we need to make a stand to start maintaining higher quality and longer lasting roads. Otherwise we’ll simply be forever chasing our tails when it comes to long term maintenance costs and quality.”
Colbeck voted in favor of the supplemental appropriation for an extra $175 million, which can be put to work almost immediately for roads purposes. Colbeck also voted for a proposed amendment that would have taken $275 million out of the rainy day fund and put it toward roads as well. That amendment, which would have meant $450 million in total, unfortunately failed.
Colbeck provided a floor speech on Wednesday in which he discussed the need for higher quality, longer-lasting roads that would save money in total life cycle costs. In addition to reducing the long-term maintenance costs, Colbeck pointed out that we also have technology to improve short-term pothole fixes so that patches would last at least 12 times longer than the current cold patch or “throw and roll” approach.
“Simple cold patch pothole fixes may keep more government workers busy but are not effective and not the way drivers want to see these getting filled,” said Colbeck. “Quality roads should be a matter of public service, not a jobs program.”
In the interest of promoting higher quality roads, Colbeck urged his colleagues to support his road construction transparency bill, Senate Bill 210. This bill would provide information needed to enforce longer-term road warranties. The bill is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.