On Wednesday, May 4, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners voted down a resolution to place a four-year road & non-motorized path millage on the August 2 ballot. If approved by voters, the millage would have levied 0.5 mills and raised approximately $7.2 million for road and path improvements county-wide, at an average cost of $35 per year for homeowners.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) estimates that the initiative would have improved nearly 200 miles of needed road repairs over four years. The millage would have essentially extended the successful Public Act 283 (P.A. 283) road millage approved by the County Board which funded 150 miles of road improvements in 2015 & 2016. The proposed four-year millage did not represent an increase in taxes, as P.A. 283 levied the same amount (0.5 mills).
WCRC worked with townships, municipalities, non-profits and the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission to propose a solution that would provide funding to repair our deteriorating road system while also improving our transportation infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. The proposed millage had widespread support. The City of Ann Arbor, City of Dexter, and the City of Saline each approved resolutions in support of the millage. In addition, the Parks Commission, York Township, Friends of the Border to Border Trail, and other nonprofit organizations signed letters of support.
“We are disappointed that the County Commission voted down the resolution to place the millage on the August ballot. The millage would have allowed us to continue the same rate of road improvements as the previous two years. Further, a four-year road millage would have provided stable funding while we await the phase-in of an uncertain road funding package from Lansing,” said Roy Townsend, Managing Director at the Washtenaw County Road Commission.
In late 2015, Governor Snyder signed a road funding package into law which will phase in new road funding over five years (2017-2021), but there is some uncertainty. Half the funding — $600 million of the $1.2 billion package — is not guaranteed. The unguaranteed $600 million is slated to come from shifts in the state’s general fund, but lawmakers have not identified how to shift funds. Lawmakers are counting on continued economic growth to bring in additional tax revenue that can be put towards road improvements. If economic growth does not continue, future legislators may set budget priorities that differ from the intentions of the road funding package.
To view a list of WCRC’s proposed road projects: http://bit.ly/1T0msUP
To learn more about how the Lansing’s Road Funding Package: http://bit.ly/1q1KN22
This post was generated from a press release submitted by Washtenaw County Road Commission Communications Coordinator Katie Parrish, which can be seen in PDF format below.
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