Taking another crack at Michigan's infrastructure issues and funding

Aug 14, 2014

A flooded freeway in Royal Oak, Michigan
A flooded freeway in Royal Oak.
Credit User: BGilbow / Flickr

Monday’s monster thunderstorm in Metro Detroit was the second-heaviest single day of rainfall since Michigan started keeping records.

The rainstorm didn't just close freeways and roads and flood basements, it focused attention back on the often-overlooked problems with our transportation infrastructure.

Jeff Cranson is director of communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“It is a good thing now that people realized that we’ve got a number of depressed freeways in Detroit,” says Cranson.

Other than roads and bridges, infrastructure also includes water sewers, drainage, pumping stations and more. And according to Cranson, 58% of the pump houses in Michigan are in poor condition.

“Twenty percent are fair and 22% are good, Cranson says. "The goal is to get them to 90% good or fair. “Until we resolve this funding challenge and decide what we’re going to do as a state and what kind of state we want to be, you’re not going to see that 90% figure achieved.”

However, it seems the dramatic weather event might have given some lawmakers a greater sense of urgency about transportation infrastructure problems and funding.

A bipartisan group of state senators met today to restart negotiations over road funding. MLive’s Jonathan Oosting says their main goal is to find a new revenue source.

"It's not like they haven't been trying on this issue. It's just that they haven't been able to get it done," says Oosting.

*Listen to the interview with Jeff Cranson and Jonathan Oosting above.