With our roads, it’s a fiscal crisis. Thousands of miles of roads are in terrible shape. But they can be repaired if we act now. If they get much worse, they’ll have to be replaced – at three to four times the cost.
Everyone in Michigan knows that the roads are bad, but do you really understand how bad?
- According to a national survey of drivers, in 2010 Michigan’s roads ranked second worst in the entire country.
- On the bright side, a survey of truckers gave us a better rating: only third worst.
And everybody knows that bad roads cost us money. But did you know that the average driver spent an extra $370 in repairs because of bad roads in Michigan? That’s a lot of alignments and chipped windshields.
We stand to gain a lot with better roads – starting with more jobs. And we stand to lose a lot with worse roads – including a big chunk of our tourism economy. Tourists don’t like repairing their windshields any more than you do.
It could get much worse
If you think the problem is bad, you don’t know the half of it. We have thousands of miles of road that are at a tipping point. They’re currently in terrible condition, but they can be repaired. But if we wait much longer, they won’t be repairable – they’ll have to be replaced. Yes, repairs are expensive. But replacement is three to four times as costly.
We can’t let this spiral out of control
Just like with our bridges, we have a revenue problem. Less revenue is coming in, and it’s more expensive every day to build a mile of road. Without more revenue, thousands of miles of roads will crumble, and we may never be able to afford the consequences.
You don’t have to drive very far to come upon a stretch of highway that is on the verge of falling apart. These are the roads that we can save with affordable repairs if we act soon. But we can’t wait forever, because these roads won’t fix themselves. If they have to be replaced, the cost will be staggering.