Michigan Land Use Institute

Thriving Communities / News & Views / Snyder expected to tackle transportation in State of State

Snyder expected to tackle transportation in State of State

The big question: How do we pay for improvements?

All Aboard | January 9, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

About the Author

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.

Recent Posts

Like Food, Local Music Can Grow Economy

Thriving Communities | April 30, 2015 | By Hans Voss

Traverse City has shown that anything is possible. The arts are a growing and important part of our local culture and economy. Now it’s time to ramp up the local music scene to a level that meets the high standards of our terrific town ....

MLUI Supports Proposal 1

Transportation | April 17, 2015 | By James Bruckbauer

Michigan’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, yet the funding structure for transportation is broken. The measure on the ballot this May 5 attempts to remedy that. While Proposal 1 is not a perfect fix, the Michigan Land Use Institute firmly believes that the positive changes it would have for our infrastructure far outweigh the negatives. ...

MLUI takes first place in crowdfunding competition

A2TC | March 26, 2015 | By MLUI

The work to bring passenger rail to Traverse City is off to a good start thanks to a quick crowdfunding effort that raised almost $19,000 in ten days. This month, the Michigan Land Use Institute took first place in the Patagonia and Moosejaw “$10,000 Charity Thing,” an annual crowdfunding competition among ten causes nationwide, and took home an additional $5,000 prize for a total of $18,650....

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed into law a series of bills for a Regional Transit Authority in southeast Michigan. (Photo: Hayley Roberts, Michigan Suburbs Alliance)


One topic will be high on the agenda when Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his annual State of the State address in Lansing next week: How we’ll pay for transportation in Michigan.

The Republican governor, who set out to change the way Michigan invests in its road and transit network, is expected to unveil more details of his long-term strategy for fixing the state’s broken transportation system.

“The challenge is simple. Michigan’s infrastructure is deteriorating from a lack of investment,” Gov. Snyder said in his 2011 special message on infrastructure. “If we are going to reinvent Michigan’s economy, we have to reinvest in Michigan’s infrastructure.”

Michigan still trails behind other states that are investing heavily in the infrastructure needed to compete in a global marketplace: quality streets, commuter trains, rapid transit, and first-class passenger rail. Those states take advantage of a mix of funding options from federal, state, and local sources. The Wolverine State’s residents, visitors, and business leaders, meanwhile, still face crumbling roads, congestion, poor transit service, and delays at major airport and train stations.

Michigan’s transportation officials, relying on woefully unstable and dwindling funds from gas taxes, are unable to plan long-term projects or maintain what it already has. In fact, one study that narrowly focused on roads and bridges estimated that Michigan will need another $1.4 billion dollars annually just to keep its roads in adequate condition.

Inaction this year is really not an option. The longer we wait to fix roads, the worse they’ll become.

The Transportation for Michigan coalition—a broad set of groups including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Municipal League—wants to see funding changes that allow Michigan to invest in the entire system, including transit and non-motorized, and that give local communities more ways to pay for their own priorities.

Public support for more options remains high. Voters over the past few years have shown overwhelming support for transit millages in local communities all around the state. Demand for busses in trains grows despite uncoordinated service and long delays. And more and more young people and seniors are living in places where they can rely less on the automobile and more on biking, walking and riding buses and trains.

Those market signals should send a clear message to state policy-makers that many voters only support funding proposals that include a complete transportation system, not just roads.

Next week the governor will likely resurface his proposals from 2011, which include switching from a retail-based gas tax to wholesale-based tax and increasing the state’s license plate registration fees. With both proposals, the governor failed last year to gain enough support from the Legislature.

This new effort will test the Governor’s ability to harness broad public support for transportation reform and to work on both sides of the isle on an issue that transcends political boundaries.

Then it will be up to the Legislature to work together to create long-term transportation strategy will finally move Michigan forward.

You can track MLUI’s website over the next couple months for a special series of articles on transportation funding.

Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address is scheduled for January 16 at 7 p.m.

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.



4142 days ago, 4:42pm | by Meika | Report Comment

James, could you post a link to the study you referred to above that indicated we need $1.4 billion annually to keep up the roads? Or let me know where to find it? I'd like to read more about this. Thanks.

4142 days ago, 9:43pm | by James Bruckbauer | Report Comment

Yes. Here's the link is below. (You must copy and paste.)
I will also insert the link into the story.


As I mentioned in the post, the report only looked at roads, and not the entire transportation system.


4123 days ago, 8:07pm | by Meika | Report Comment

Thank you!

Search Archives

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
e comments@mlui.org