Reps. Brinks, Dillon Help Bring Road Repairs to Grand Rapids

Emergency fixes are helpful, but state lacks a road funding plan
Thursday, July 3, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS - A supplemental budget bill supported by state Representatives Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) has resulted in emergency road repairs to some of Grand Rapids’ most crumbling roads. While the fixes are a good start, the representatives point out that Michigan still needs a comprehensive road funding plan to pay for approximately $1 billion in road and bridge repairs annually.

“Wherever I go in Grand Rapids, people are upset with the state of the roads they drive to work, to the store or to take their kids to the park,” Brinks said. “I’m grateful that some of our most dangerous roads are about to get fixed, but there are still many roads that need attention. Emergency roads must only be the start. We need to get to work on a real road funding plan.”

The supplemental budget bill that both Brinks and Dillon voted for in March set aside $215 million for emergency road repairs, including $100 million for potholes and winter-related road damage and $115 million for construction projects. Included among the projects are $1.1 million to repair Bridge Street from Lake Michigan Drive NW to Mount Mercy Drive NW, and almost $1 million to fix Michigan Street NE from Barclay Avenue NE to Lafayette Avenue NE.

“It’s great that two stretches of road in Grand Rapids are about to get some overdue repairs,” Dillon said. “However, that barely scratches the surface. What we really need is a comprehensive road plan that will address all of the shoddy roads and crumbling bridges across the state. Despite our best efforts to stay in Lansing and find a way to fund those projects, we don’t yet have that plan.”

In June, Michigan House Democrats loudly objected by a voice vote to a Republican motion to adjourn for a three-month summer break without finding a road funding plan. House Democrats have since invited House Republicans to return to Lansing and finish the job, but Republicans have so far been silent on the matter.

“I’m glad that our vote for emergency road funding in March is making a difference in Grand Rapids, but we won’t find a real solution to our road funding problem until we go back to the Capitol and get back to work,” Brinks said. “It’s time to end the vacation, roll up our sleeves and find a solution that will fix our crumbling roads.”