Michigan's glaring problem flares up: how to fix the roads

Image 1 of 4

Michigan's glaring problem flares up: how to fix the roads

Road crews all over southeast Michigan have their hands full dealing with pothole problems and flooding. As it turns out - patching the potholes can solve two problems: it gives the water somewhere to go.

Wherever you live - from Southfield to Rochester, the pothole patrol in Oakland County is tackling the craters as soon as possible.

The Oakland County Road Commission is working to fix them with a temporary patchwork. it's a Band-Aid and yes, it hurts just as badly when it comes off - which leaves behind a gaping hole waiting to wreck your rims. 

So what's being done to make a permanent fix? That's a long answer. We'll start at the federal level: President Trump is proposing a $200 billion upgrade that features a public/private partnership. State and local officials would decide where the dollars go. 

Republicans will tell you that's a good thing to fix roads like Livernois in front of Rochester High School.

"Driving on this road here, it's not safe," Congressman Mike Bishop says.

He said the money is already flowing to local leaders thanks to legislation that has already been passed.

"The President has identified infrastructure as a priority for government. Last funding cycle we put $100 billion into startup funding for local block grants back to the states that will be used at a local level," Bishop said.

Many Democratic lawmakers don't like the proposal for infrastructure funding, specifically the idea of a public/private partnership because they said it would allow company to help decide which roads get money first.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat who serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee thinks there's a better plan: she says we have to consider a higher gas tax or possibly tolls. 

"We cannot have an infrastructure plan that is 80 percent private investment and 20 percent public," Lawrence said. "You know you ride across the roads and you scream and holler, we need some federal dollars coming in so I want to activate the community that if you're really frustrated by the roads, you need to start asking them to appropriate the funds to fix our roads."

The state is also involved. There's a $160 million plan to fix the roads and it's on the fast track. It's on the House floor now and then to the Senate - it's expected to pass both.