Potholes on Mound Road

(Photo: WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

MDOT Director: At Least $1.5 Billion More Needed To Fix Michigan Highways

February 06, 2019 - 7:40 am

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - If Michigan ever wants to fix its crumbling roads, the state will have to cough up an astronomical amount of money. 

That's the word from the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. Paul Ajegba says at least $1.5 billion more is needed to improve the condition of state highways -- nearly double what is now being spent.

Ajegba, who was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to run the department, disclosed the figure before a Senate committee Tuesday. He's still working to compile how much additional funding is needed for municipal roads and bridges.

Bottom line, Ajegba says lack of investment is the core reason for Michigan's crummy roads. The state's per-capita spending on roads ranks 46th-lowest in the nation and last in the Great Lakes region, Ajegba said.

Fixing the roads was a major focus of Whitmer's campaign. She's expected to include a major road-funding plan in her budget proposal and will highlight the issue in next week's State of the State address.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.