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Michigan Engineers Group Says State Roads, Bridges Flunk

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(credit: WWJ)

(credit: WWJ)

LANSING — Michigan is still not making the grade after receiving an overall D grade for infrastructure two years ago, the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers announced Monday.

Now a report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers shows that the dangerous and expensive decision to delay the repair of roads and bridges across Michigan and the rest of the country costs individual families more than $1,000 per year.

The findings are highlighted as Gov. Rick Snyder prepares to deliver a special message on transportation and infrastructure funding in Michigan on Wednesday.

While various studies have noted the broader economic impact of failing to invest in transportation, this is the first time the impact on family budgets has been assessed.  Michigan lawmakers have been deadlocked for years on how to adequately fund transportation infrastructure. As a result, 35 percent of Michigan’s roads are in poor condition, 2010 data show. Nearly one-third of Michigan’s bridges were deemed functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. Since the 2009 infrastructure report card gave Michigan a D, nothing has been done by Michigan leaders to fix the state’s broken transportation funding system.

“The failure of Michigan and other states to adequately invest in transportation infrastructure inflicts a double whammy on families – they see their household incomes fall and the cost of the products they need rise,” Mike Guter, president of the ASCE Michigan Section, said today.  “This is a wake-up call for Michigan lawmakers: Failing to adequately invest in transportation infrastructure means economic growth is limited and Michigan families have a lower standard of living. That’s bad for families and bad for Michigan.”

The report, conducted by the Economic Development Research Group of Boston, found that deteriorating infrastructure means businesses have to put more money into vehicle repairs and costs created by transportation delays. That drains money from innovation and expansion that can drive up wages and drive down the cost of products. As a result, family household income drops by $60 a month and expenditures on goods increase by $30 per month.

Deficiencies in America’s roads, bridges and transit systems cost American households and businesses about $130 billion, the report found. That figure represents $97 billion in vehicle operating costs, $32 billion in delays in travel time, $1.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in environmental costs.

“We cannot afford to put the infrastructure funding issue on the back-burner any longer – it will only get more costly, limit economic growth, and jeopardize the safety of Michigan citizens and our families,” Ron Brenke, executive director of the ASCE Michigan Section, said today. “We must act now to keep citizens safe on our transportation system, protect Michigan pocketbooks and create jobs.”

Within 10 years, U.S. businesses would pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, reducing productivity and competitiveness for Michigan and American businesses.

To view the full national ASCE report on the failure to adequately invest in infrastructure, go to www.asce.org/uploadedFiles/Infrastructure/Report_Card/ASCE-FailureToActFinal.pdf

To view the 2009 Michigan Infrastructure Report Card, visit: www.michiganreportcard.com

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