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Michigan has the worst roads in America

January 30, 2019 by Steven M. Gursten

Study finds we have the worst roads in America. The question now is how do we fix the roads (and pay for repairs)?

Michigan has the worst roads in America - How do we fix them? How do we pay for it?

This was not a contest we wanted to win – Michigan has the worst roads in America.

“Michigan has the worst roads in the country” declared Lvl5 in its nationwide road quality study.

Lvl5, a company that creates HD maps for self-driving cars, based its conclusion on five million miles of driving throughout the U.S. and its analysis of quality measures that include:

  • Road paint fading
  • Pavement cracking
  • Potholes
  • Surface flatness

What can Michigan do to “fix the damn roads”? 

We all saw the commercials. “Fix the Damn Roads” was then-candidate, now-Gov. Whitmer’s big election promise.

Gov. Whitmer has floated the following ideas:

  • During her campaign, then-candidate Whitmer proposed “establishing the ‘Rebuild Michigan Bank,’ an entity that can provide low-interest loans and fund road and other infrastructure projects throughout the state. She wants to fund it with $3 billion in the first year — $2 billion in state money that will leverage another $1 billion from federal sources,” according to MLive. (“Whitmer’s plan to fix Michigan roads could raise taxes,” MLive, September 17, 2018)
  • Whitmer recently told The Detroit News that “she’s open to ideas on how to improve road conditions in the state, including the possibility of a toll road — although she said out-of-state travel into Michigan is not common like other states that have toll roads.” (“Whitmer: Fixing the ‘damn roads’ is ‘going to take a while’,” The Detroit News, January 18, 2019)

Fixing the roads is what everyone in Michigan wants.

But at what cost? Presumably, repairs will take billions every year.

MLive reported:

“The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission established by Gov. Rick Snyder found in a 2016 report the state would need to invest an additional $2.2 billion per year to get 95 percent of interstates, 85 percent of state highways and 85 percent of local roads in good or fair condition.”

How much does Michigan spend on fixing roads?

The Detroit Free Press has reported that Michigan spends less than its neighboring states on road repairs:

  • “A 2018 study from the Reason Foundation, based on 2015 data, said Michigan ranked 33rd among the 50 states for total spending per mile of state-owned road. The $207,162 spent per mile in Michigan was behind neighbors Ohio, which spent $213,040 per mile, and Wisconsin, which spent $250,040, the report said.”
  • “The Urban Institute said in a recent report, using 2015 census data, that state and local highway and road spending in Michigan and neighboring Indiana is less than $500 per person. Neighbor Ohio spends between $500 and $600 per person, while Wisconsin spends more than $700 per person, the report said.”

(Source: “Does your body ache from hitting potholes? 5 reasons Michigan has lousy roads,” Detroit Free Press, March 13, 2018)

What are the other states with the worst roads?

Although Michigan has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last, we’re also not alone in having terrible roads.  The study named the next four states with the worst roadways to include:

  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Kansas

What are the states with the best roads in America?

To give Michigan something to aspire to, here are the states that Lvl5 ranked as having the best roads in the country:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Washington
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee

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