Mackinac County to see road improvements

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The Mackinac County Road Commission (MCRC) recently announced that the county will see a $1,010,000 investment in its roadways.

In March, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder approved using existing resources to move the $175 million boost in state and local road funding to this year. Of that money, Mackinac County was scheduled to receive approximately $240,000 and on May 1, MCRC approved a plan to triple the new road funds.

During the March 20 meeting, MCRC requested other local governmental units match the new funds by dividing up the state money by townships and requesting that each township as well as the County Board of Commissioners match up to $20,000 for a total of $60,000 in road repairs each.

“I think this was a creative and effective way to maximize the money earmarked for roads,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “The state as a whole is suffering from an aging infrastructure and northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are no different. The harsh weather we see up here has wreaked havoc on our roads in recent years and we need to make drastic improvements.”

The plan devised by MCRC and the participating townships was initially met with some restraint from the Mackinac County Board. However, on April 26, the board approved up to $220,000 intended to match the road commission and townships. This move turned the one-time $240,000 into $680,000 for local road improvements.

When added to the existing match program currently in place with the Mackinac County Board and townships, this equates to $1,010,000 in road improvements in Mackinac County.

“I regularly meet with constituents and hold several monthly coffee hours all over my district, and the one thing I continue to hear is that we need to fix the roads,” Schmidt said. “It’s something we are taking seriously. As you can see, local entities are getting creative and figuring out ways to stretch their dollars, and just recently the Senate approved the fiscal year 2019 budget, which when added with the recent $175 million, will equal a $2.1 billion investment in our roads since 2017.”

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Editor’s note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the Mackinac County road funding initiative is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.