New transportation money welcome but won’t solve all issues

With pothole season in the Upper Peninsula just around the corner, local road managers will have a bit more money this spring and summer to deal with them and other road issues, courtesy of the Michigan Legislature.

Last week, the state House of Representatives approved an additional $175 million in funding, to be split up between the state, counties, cities and townships. Close observers tell us the state Senate will approve similar legislation in the near future. The funds would be allocated from a surplus in the state’s General Fund.

Of course, everyone wants to know how much more they will get. While that’s still a little murky because, in part, the Senate hasn’t voted on its own bill. Here’s what we know so far: cities and villages would receive an additional $38.1 million; counties would get $68.4 million; and another $68.4 million would go for state trunkline preservation and enhancement projects that would help improve mobility for senior citizens and disabled people, as well as projects that will bolster technology for the state’s roads, including coordination and testing with autonomous vehicles, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Look for announcements from state officials down the road, specifying who will get what in this neck of the woods.

While the additional funding is certainly welcome, it isn’t likely to solve all of the state’s road problems, especially potholes, which can badly damage passing vehicles if not filled in properly. Long term, the state needs to invest more aggressively in its road system. This, however, appears to be a positive movement.