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Committee gives green light to Runestad bill that looks to reduce road repair costs for local communities

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday gave its approval to a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Runestad to save local communities from increased road repair costs that are associated with the use of federal funding. Senate Bill 465 will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

“I brought this plan to the Senate as a result of a meeting I had three years ago with my own road commission in Oakland County,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “A good number of folks have worked tirelessly to craft this plan and propose its merits to the state and the Legislature.”

SB 465 would allow local road agencies to elect to participate in a federal aid swap with the state. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) estimates that local road agencies see an estimated 20% to 30% cost increase by meeting federal standards, such as bidding requirements and reporting.

Comparatively, MDOT estimates an increase of 10% to 15% in their cost to comply with federal requirements. This is due to the fact that MDOT has an operation that is more suited to handle the administrative federal requirements than smaller municipalities, since the state department already receives 75% of those funds.

“The bottom line is that the state is in the position to help local agencies focus more funds on fixing roads instead of devoting precious resources to complying with burdensome federal administrative requirements,” Runestad said. “A more efficient use of these funds will ultimately benefit the drivers who rely on local road agencies and MDOT to maintain Michigan’s roads.”