State Transportation Director Blasts Lawmakers for Shunning Road Repairs

Jan 22, 2014

Michigan’s top transportation official is blasting state lawmakers for all but giving up on passing a long-term road funding fix this year.

MDOT director to lawmakers: “How many people should die” before roads are fixed?

By Jake Neher

Michigan’s top transportation official is blasting state lawmakers for all but giving up on passing a long-term road funding fix this year.

Governor Rick Snyder wants the Legislature to boost funding for roads and infrastructure by more than $1 billion a year. But lawmakers say Michigan voters are not ready to support raising taxes or fees to pay for it. Some say the roads may have to get worse before they can get better.

SEE ALSO: Major Boost in Road Funding Not Likely in Michigan in 2014

“Are they suggesting that a bridge fall down? Did they suggest how many people should die?” asked Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Credit lynnefeatherstone / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

“Why do we seem to have this mentality in the country now that says we only react to a crisis? Why don’t we act to good management? And good management is saying, ‘look, we have to deal with this.’”

Steudle joined interest groups supporting increased road funding Tuesday in Lansing to unveil a report that suggests bad roads are costing Michigan drivers almost $8 billion each year. That includes money for vehicle repairs, lost time stuck in traffic, and medical bills.

Read the full report here