(photo: WWJ/Mike Campbell)

At Least $2 Billion Needed To Fix Oakland County Roads: Estimate

June 11, 2019 - 11:45 am

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - The Road Commission for Oakland County says it would take at least a couple of billion dollars to fix Oakland County's roads. 

"We estimate that to address the surface condition, just the condition of the road, the potholes, etc., would be about $2 billion," Road Commission spokesman Craig Bryson said. "If you also look at addressing congestion, traffic jams we handle, that would be an additional billion dollars. So somewhere around $3 billon to address both the condition and congestion."

Bryson said as of 2018, 84% of the roads in Oakland County were in fair or poor condition. 

The question remains: how to pay for repairs. While Bryson said the Road Commission is not supporting any specific road funding proposal, he said they would like to see road funding protected by the U.S.Condtitution. 

"We would like it to be a dedicated revenue source such as the gas tax, which is constitutionally protected and can't be diverted to anything else," he said. "But we think the Legislature makes those decisions, and we are confident that they will come up with a good funding source and eventually provide us with adequate funding."  

Looking to fulfill her campaign promise to "fix the damn roads," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a controvercial 45 cents-a-gallon hike in the state's gas tax. 

Saying the governor's proposal, which would have Michiganders paying by far the highest fuel taxes in the country, was a nonstarter, state Republican rejected Whitmer's plan.

While Republicans said backin March they plan to present their own "surprise plan" for how to fix the roads, so far no GOP plan has been presented. 

The Michigan Department of Transportation earlier this year said at least $1.5 billion more is needed to improve the condition of state highways. According to MDOT Director Paul Ajegba a lack of investment is the core reason for Michigan's crummy roads. He said the state's per-capita spending on roads ranks 46th lowest in the nation and last in the Great Lakes region.