Every day Michigan motorists take our roads and bridges for granted. Most do not consider the investment it takes to keep these structures in good repair.
Our infrastructure requires continual maintenance and improvement for safety and longevity. The upgrades and upkeep must be funded.
Eaton County Road Commission (ECRC) projects are funded in several ways:
The state gas tax is assigned to the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF), funneling money to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), county, city and village road agencies. These funds are the main source of operating revenue for ECRC. Today, the state gas tax produces less income than it did several years ago.
To counter inflation’s bite, several states increased their gas tax and charge motorists highway tolls. Unlike other states, Michigan does not use the toll road system. In 1997, Governor John Engler signed legislation raising the gas tax from 15 cents per gallon to 19 cents per gallon. Before the legislation, Michigan had not changed the gas tax since 1984.
Although traffic volume has increased, gas tax revenue has dropped because cars are more fuel-efficient. The result is more wear and tear on the roads and funding shortfalls. Delayed maintenance can lead to irreversible road and bridge deterioration.
On November 4, 2014 Eaton County voters approved a county-wide millage in the amount of 1.5 mills for a twelve year period (2015-2026) to fund the repair and rehabilitation of County Local Roads. By law, millage proceeds must be spent only on the following:
It is important to note that millage proceeds may NOT be used for the following:
Occasionally a special assessment is used for a particular project, such as road paving. This provides property owner contributions from those benefiting from the project.
Special assessment districts are set up in two ways:
The Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) includes state dollars authorized by the TEDF Act and is administered by MDOT.
The ECRC applies for TEDF assistance for three types of projects:
Twenty percent of a given TEDF project’s cost must come from local monies.
County road commissions, cities and villages receive state and federal monies to help fund the replacement of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges that cannot safely carry traffic. The funds are limited and awarded on a statewide competitive basis.
Some federal road funding is provided under the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). These dollars are awarded on a competitive basis and local road commissions must provide matching funds to cover 20 percent of the actual construction costs.
Each year townships may apply to ECRC for participation funds covering local road maintenance, construction or special assessment projects. These funds are based on township population and miles of local road.
To receive these dollars, a township must provide matching funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This match money can come from the township’s own funds, a special road millage or unique private/public contributions.
The ECRC annually sets the total amount of participation funds.
Residents are encouraged to attend any hearings or informational meetings on road and bridge projects in their area. It is a great opportunity to meet ECRC staff, get project updates and discuss concerns.