‘Smart Politics’ examined

May 8, 2019

Grosse Pointe News

Melissa Walsh

With the annual Mackinac Policy Conference a month away, a sizable crowd recently showed up at The Whiskey Six to discuss issues they would like to see resolved by the state.

Host of WDET’s Detroit Today Stephen Henderson launched the station’s 2019 series of “Smart Politics” discussions at the City venue Thursday evening, April 25.

With him were Deadline Detroit news reporter and Woods resident Nancy Derringer and PBS’s Great Lakes Now program director and Park resident Sandi Svoboda.

The event began with WDET Program Director Joan Isabella chatting with audience members as she collected questions they wrote on Post-it notes for the panel.

Though diverse opinions and conflicting statements were made from the panel and audience on several topics during the event, an early comment from a member of the audience sent the crowd into shared laughter. Pointing to an 8-foot by 6-foot image of Prohibition-era bootleggers standing next to a cargo truck stuck in Lake St. Clair ice, he said, “Can we all just agree that this photo is just timeless?”

The humor set a friendly tone that continued throughout the discussion — that in many ways Detroiters share a common appreciation for the area’s history.

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Report: Michigan’s roads, bridges rapidly deteriorating

The Detroit News 

By Shawn Lewis 

April 4, 2017 

Michigan’s roads and bridges will get worse over the next half decade despite a boost in infrastructure funding from the Legislature, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report conducted by TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based national transportation advocacy organization, looks at what has happened with roads and bridges since lawmakers in 2015 approved expanded funding for roads.

The TRIP report says 20 percent of state-maintained roads were in poor condition in 2016 and are expected to deteriorate significantly over the next three years, projecting 46 percent will be in poor condition by 2020.

“About one in 10 bridges in Michigan are structurally deficient,” said Rocky Moretti, director of policy and research for TRIP.

According to the report, the Michigan Department of Transportation estimates the number of bridges rated in poor condition will increase by 50 percent between 2016 and 2023. This means the number of bridges in poor condition will increase from 236 to 354 in that time frame.

According to the report, funding for state state roads, bridges and transit will increase from $2.2 billion in 2015 to nearly $3.4 billion in 2023.

The 28-page report says despite the 2015 funding boost, numerous needed transportation projects in Michigan remain unfunded.

The value of these needed transportation projects is $3.3 billion, including $2 billion in Metro Detroit, $483 million in the Lansing area and $234 million in the Grand Rapids area, according to TRIP.

The list of unfunded projects in the Metro Detroit area include: reconstruction of Interstate 94, from I-96 to Wyoming, at a cost of $110.5 million; M-10, Griswold to M-3, for resurfacing at a cost of $15.8 million; and U.S. 12, from Rosa Parks to Cass, for reconstruction and overlay at a cost of $14.8 million.

Tuesday’s press conference where the report was released was held at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the chamber, said the business community has been focused on transportation needs for decades.

“We still have a long way to go because we all know the condition of our roads is severely damaging our ability to progress economically,” Williams said. “While we made a down payment two years ago, our infrastructure requires more funding.”

He said the 20 percent of Michigan roads already in poor condition is 20 percent too much.

“The lack of investment costs us in time, repairs and in customers,” he said.

View the original article here: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/04/04/report-michigan-roads/100023430/