Road Funding Will Decline

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

Funding to build and maintain Michigan's roads and bridges will decline by 18 percent in 2008, one of the largest cuts in the state of Michigan's fiscal 2008 budget.

The state road and bridge program for fiscal year 2008 is $1.32 billion. This is a $300-million cut from the 2007 fiscal year program.

"This budget cut is going to hit the average Michigan citizen in the pocketbook," said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA). "Currently each year driving on crumbling and congested roads and bridges costs Michigan motorists on average $318 annually. As necessary road and bridge repairs are postponed, those costs to motorists will escalate."

Budget cuts mean the state has to delay repairs that may extend the life of roads and bridges in Michigan. The infrastructure may subsequently need to be replaced entirely — which is more costly.

In addition, as drivers experience more potholes, greater congestion and less snowplowing due to a lack of funding, traffic accidents will increase. Almost 400 Michigan motorists lose their lives needlessly every year due to accidents related to poor roads and bridges, according to the American Highway Users Alliance.

"This is a typical case of pay me now or pay me much more later," Nystrom said. It is estimated that the state has a $700-million annual shortfall in maintaining the Michigan Department of Transportation-managed system and at least $2 billion in additional needs at the local level.

MITA represents a broad spectrum of underground and highway construction companies.

Construction on The University of Michigan Health System's Eye Center Expansion Project will continue in 2008. The new 12-story building is located on Wall Street in Ann Arbor, adjacent and connected to the current eye center tower.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress of this project," said John Clark of Clark Construction, which is serving as construction manager on the Eye Center Expansion Project as part of a joint venture.

The University of Michigan Eye Center Expansion Project includes a $121-million, 222,000-square-foot building that will more than double the university's capacity for eye care, research and education. The facility will house an expansion of the eye center's clinics and laboratories, and two floors of research facilities focused on finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Construction of The University of Michigan Eye Center Expansion project is expected to be completed in December 2009.

Construction of Madonna University's New Science and Media Building in Livonia will continue in 2008.

"It's exciting to be part of this project, which represents Madonna University's first stand-alone building in 40 years," said Mary Kane Butkovich, project director for Clark Construction, which is serving as general contractor.

The 64,000-square-foot New Science and Media Building will include new science classrooms and laboratory space, state-of-the-art television and radio production facilities, and an open-air gathering area for students. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2009.

Construction of the new $70-million William Beaumont Hospital medical center in Commerce Township will continue in 2008. The 159,000-square-foot project is located on 35 acres and will include a freestanding emergency center, physician offices, rehabilitation services, diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, laboratory services, and a women's health center. Construction began in November 2007 and it is expected to be completed in 2009. Hobbs + Black Associates, of Ann Arbor, was the project designer. Kasco Construction Services Inc., of Huntington Woods, is managing the project.

Construction of the new U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services district headquarters in Detroit is expected to be completed in the spring of 2008.

Transportation Sewer/Water Misc. Civi Total Highway & Heavy Buildings* Total

Transportation Sewer/Water Misc. Civi Total Highway & Heavy Buildings* Total
2006 $1,246,546,879 $328,833,286 $179,527,334 $1,754,907,499 $6,544,380,991 $8,299,288,490
2007 $1,335,000,000 $526,000,000 $181,000,000 $2,042,000,000 $4,777,400,000 $6,819,400,000
2008 $770,000,000 $540,000,000 $165,000,000 $1,475,000,000 $6,200,000,000 $7,675,000,000
* Excludes single-family housing