Runestad, MacDonald still working on maximizing road funding

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Michael D. MacDonald and Sen. Jim Runestad on Thursday reintroduced legislation to help reduce local road funding red tape.

“This is a continued effort to help maximize our local road funding and help our local agencies save substantially on their costs by allowing them to swap federal funds for state dollars,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “We hope to get more federal support for transportation projects, but the federal dollars often come with burdensome requirements that can cost local agencies a huge amount of time and money — resources that would better be used fixing the roads. The state, on the other hand, has much experience with the federal rules and can more easily meet the requirements.”

Senate Bill 465, sponsored by Runestad, would allow local road agencies to swap some of the federal funds allocated to that local road agency with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in exchange for state funds. MacDonald’s bill, SB 466, would use state funds to replace the federal dollars directed to MDOT under SB 465 — directing funds from the State Trunkline Fund to counties, cities, and villages.

“By giving our local transportation agencies more flexibility to cut their costs, we can help them fix more of our local roads and make a real difference in the lives of our hardworking taxpayers and families,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency has estimated that these reforms could save local governments up to 30% each year in reduced compliance and overhead costs. Just imagine how many more miles of local roads could be fixed throughout our state with that amount of savings. It’s a game-changer.”

The bills are reintroductions of SBs 518 and 519, which were passed by the Senate in 2020 but were not taken up by the House.

SBs 465 and 466 have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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