Even if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's 45-cents-per-gallon tax is approved -- a big if -- Michigan's neglected roads will not come back into decent shape anytime soon, Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley warns. The projects are too big, and too numerous, to happen quickly:
Reversing decades of neglect will take both patience and sacrifice. Yet I don't sense Michigan residents are prepared for either one.
He has that right, for sure. Because what does road repair and rebuilding involve? Orange barrels, closures, rerouting, detours -- all things we despise. Expecting that all the roads in Michigan can be fixed quickly is rather like expecting all the corroded water lines in Flint to be magically replaced overnight, when neither is practical or even possible. As Finley points out:
The additional $2 billion the tax hike will raise won't be enough to rapidly bring roads into repair. There are just too many surfaces in too poor a condition.
And the work is expensive. Wayne County Executive Warren Evans in his State of the County address tonight will detail three major projects he'll fund this year: Miller Bridge in Dearborn, Dix Bascule Bridge in Detroit and Haggerty Road through Livonia.
The price tag for just those three rebuilds is $100 million. In Macomb County, reconstructing nine miles of Mound Road will cost $185 million.
And it's a big state, with potholes in every corner of it.