Runestad bill aims to reduce road repair costs for local communities

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Wednesday testified before the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of a bill he introduced to save local communities from increased road repair costs that are associated with the use of federal funding.

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

Senate Bill 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. “This more efficient use of these funds will ultimately benefit Michigan drivers who rely on their local road agencies and MDOT to maintain Michigan’s roads.”

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 Photo caption: Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, speaks to members of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of a bill he introduced to save local communities from increased road repair costs that are associated with the use of federal funding.