Runestad authors bill to maximize local road funds

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad introduced legislation Thursday that would help maximize local road funds.

Senate Bill 518 would require all federal transportation funds received by the state to be spent at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), except funds specifically allocated at the federal level for local jurisdictions or funds allocated to local jurisdictions through a competitive process.

“Federal transportation funds more often than not come with strings attached that cost more money — such as additional restrictions and reporting requirements,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Large departments, like MDOT, are better able than local organizations to meet these demands at a lower administrative cost.

“With the state handling all federal transportation funds and reporting requirements, local agencies can then focus their resources more efficiently.”

SB 519, a companion bill sponsored by Sen. Michael D. MacDonald, would use state funds to replace the federal dollars directed to MDOT under SB 518 — directing funds from the State Trunkline Fund to counties, cities, and villages.

“We need to give our local transportation agencies the most flexibility when it comes to critical road repaving and repairs so they can put your gas tax money where it is needed most,” Runestad said.

Both measures were introduced as part of a 10-bill package aimed at improving the way roads are built and taking a more comprehensive look at improving the state’s utilization and oversight of road funding.

SBs 515 – 524 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.