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U.P. cities get smaller piece of the pie

April 14, 2014 - Linda Lobeck
Local cities and counties are thankful to get some extra money from the state to help restore road maintenance budgets that were depleted by the tough winter we are continuing to have.

But what our local municipalities are getting is just a drop in the bucket when you consider that this is part of $21.8 million alloted to cities and villages through the Michigan Department of Transportation according to the Act 51 road funding formula.

They say that the formula is complex and is used to determine how much each entity receives of the funding. Factors like road mileage and population play into that amount.

Well, I think that the formula is a little skewed due to the fact that the Upper Peninsula counties, cities and towns are getting less than the lower Peninsula with this funding. Not that any money isn’t welcome, but really that harshness of the winters here create more havoc on the roads than the milder ones downstate.

I was commenting to my husband the other day riding around the area that in some places there are more potholes than pavement left. And that’s not a criticism of the local governments or their public works departments. We all know that they haven’t had a moment to focus on the roads due to the never-ending winter we’ve had.

And with the extreme cold temperatures, so much of the crew’s time and energy has been to focus on making sure the water and sewer lines were unthawed for people.

And added on to that, the costs of the extra plowing and work that the winter has brought on and you have a recipe for a disastrous situation. Everyone is strapped when it comes to trying to figure out their budgets for any road work that can be done this summer.

So I don’t think it’s all that fair that since our population is lower we don’t receive as much money even though we have to cover a larger area of road and deal with harsher weather. It’s the same thing with school aid for our local schools versus the ones downstate — a real sense of inequity for those of us living above the bridge.

Iron Mountain received $41,462.55 and Kingsford $27,946.03 with the Act 51 monies. That’s compared to the bigger areas downstate like Kentwood with $189,797, Kalamazoo with $324,454 and Jackson received $154,509. Lansing, of course, received a whopping $516,438.31.

As usual, the U.P. cities are getting a smaller piece of the pie when it comes to state funding.

But like local officials have remarked, something is better than nothing. Let’s hope this funding helps them out a little with their already strapped road budgets.


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