Road work season is on the way

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:00 am on Thursday, April 25, 2013

COURTLAND TOWNSHIP — Construction work and how a majority of projects are funded were popular topics during the Greater Greenville Transportation meeting Wednesday evening.

The committee met at Courtland Township Hall during its quarterly meeting just in time to talk about the upcoming construction season.

A major project Montcalm County will see this year is the resurfacing of M-66 starting in this summer.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the project will be a low- to medium-impact project going from Condensery Road to the north end of the Sheridan village limits and ending at Liberty Street (about 0.9 miles). The project is scheduled to start around July 29 and end the middle of October.

Erick Kind, MDOT manager of TSC Grand Rapids Region, said the village is also updating streetlights this summer and the construction will not interfere with the upgrades.

“We are working with the village,” Kind said.

Another construction project that might affect commutes for Montcalm County residents includes the resurfacing of M-57 from Northland Drive to Morgan Mills Avenue. This is a low- to medium-impact project starting in June and finishing in July and will fix about 11.3 miles.

Other areas throughout the county will receive crack treatments.

Looking into future projects for Montcalm County, Kind said next year, MDOT will be focusing on Carson City to upgrade the culvert at Butternut Creek on Main Street (M-57).

“This was an area on high alert from closures and flooding,” said Kind, noting this area and others in the county were not hit as bad by flooding as counties like Ionia and Kent counties. “Knock on wood, we did pretty good.”

Kind said as the rivers start to recede, there might be minor damages to roads that will need to be fixed.

MDOT Region Transportation Planner Dennis Kent discussed where some revenue comes from to help fund transportation maintenance and preservation for Michigan roadways. The three major sources come from state gasoline and diesel fuel tax, federal gasoline and diesel fuel tax and vehicle registration fees.

State tax is 18.7 cents per gallon while federal gas tax is 18.4 cents.

“State and federal tax do not fluctuate with gas prices,” Kent said. “As gas goes up and drivers drive less, (transportation) gets less revenue.”

There is also a 6 percent sales tax that does fluctuate with the cost of gas, however, does not go towards transportation.

If gas prices are $3.89 per gallon, the state will collect 39.7 cents per gallon between the state tax (18.7 cents) and sales tax (21 cents). Of that 39.7 cents, 20 cents goes towards school and local government, 2.5 cents goes towards transit and 17.2 cents goes towards roads.

The total amount designated for transportation (2.5 cents for transit and 17.2 cents for roads) is split between four groups, according to Kent. Bus and rail receives 2.5 cents, MDOT highways receive 6.7 cents, county roads receive 6.7 cents and city streets receive 3.8 cents. Kent said these funds then go towards funding road-construction projects.

Fund are slim and projects have to be chosen based on whats available, but the longer MDOT waits on a project, the worse it might be.

“The longer we wait, the more it will cost to repair the roads,” Kent said.

More information regarding Michigan roads can be found at online.

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