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Crunch! That’s the sound of ‘pothole summer’ 2014

July 2, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

As you crash into pothole after pothole in the coming months, remember Michigan lawmakers failed to fix the roads before they went on vacation

potholes Michigan

Plagued with potholes, Michigan roadways are in the worst condition they could be. Yet that didn’t stop Michigan lawmakers from going on summer vacation.

No doubt they have road trips planned.

Just not in Michigan.

That way, they won’t have to come face-to-face and tires-to-pothole with their failure to do their jobs and agree on a sensible plan to fix the roads. These are the roads that are causing a lot of automobile accidents, hundreds of thousands of dollars in blown tires and vehicle damage, and that we use to drive our kids to play-dates and the park, to commute to work and to go grocery shopping and run errands.

Lawmakers should be embarrassed. Of the Legislature’s ineptitude, the Detroit Free Press reported:

  • “Michigan lawmakers adjourned [for the summer] without the big fix for roads that Gov. Rick Snyder has advocated for more than two years and motorists are clamoring for as they traverse the state’s pothole-scarred roads.”
  • “[F]ailure” to work out a “road-funding plan” “means there will be no new money during the summer and fall construction seasons to fix crater-marked roads and bridges ravaged by a particularly tough winter and spring thaw.”

Failed efforts to fix Michigan’s pothole-pocked roads included:

  • Gas tax hike of “as high as 15.5% after four years” (“close to 25 cents per gallon over five years”) which would raise “an estimated $1.2 billion a year …”
  • Gas tax hike from 7% to 15% over four years which would raise “about $39 million.”
  • Raise the general sales tax (6%) by one percentage point which would generate “more than $1 billion in extra revenue” that would be used “to fix the roads.”
  • Double or, even, quintuple permit fees for overweight trucks.

Significantly, Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, “a group that normally loathes tax hikes but supported a gas tax increase of 25 center per gallon over four years,” voiced extreme frustration to the Detroit Free Press:

  • “They’re making a big mistake recessing for the summer without acting on a larger, more comprehensive package.”
  • “[L]awmakers will hear a lot from their constituents, who after all this debate and study and the worst pothole season in a decade, were looking at lawmakers to do their job.”

The issue is a personal one for me.  As an accident attorney, I’ve seen a huge spike in automobile accidents and people being hurt by other people who are dodging gaping potholes and swerving into oncoming traffic.

This isn’t just an embarrassment for our state, it’s a safety issue. Hundreds of people are being hurt because of it.

If we don’t do our jobs to fix a big problem, we lose our jobs.  Maybe it’s time for the same to be said of our lawmakers.

Related information:

Should Michigan create toll roads to pay for pothole damage?

Will my car insurance cover the pothole damage claim?

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