Traverse City Record-Eagle

Latest News - Mobile

February 18, 2014

State funds could help ease local winter roads costs

TRAVERSE CITY — Keeping roads in the Grand Traverse region clear of snow and ice isn't cheap, but some financial relief might be on the way, courtesy of state lawmakers.

The possible funding boost came as a surprise to Leelanau County Road Commission Chair Lee Bowen as he drove a road commission truck to visit the ice caves dotting Lake Michigan's coast. The road commission's overtime and diesel fuel costs indicate this year's winter is one of the most brutal in recent memory, he said.

"We’re appreciative of any help we can get from the legislature,” Bowen said over the squawking of the truck's radio.

Michigan's Senate Appropriations Committee amended legislation today to set aside an extra $100 million in road maintenance funding for state and local governments.

"It’s basically in recognition of the severe winter we've had and, I guess you can call it, the looming pothole season that is about to draw near here with the warming weather," said state Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, a member of the appropriations committee.

The pending legislation, if approved, would provide welcome assistance to local road agencies like the Antrim County Road Commission. Antrim County roads officials plan to put some purchases on hold because of high winter maintenance.

The commission spent more than $900,000 clearing ice and snow from the roads this winter through January. Costs over the past four years for the same period of time ranged between roughly $400,000 and $600,000, said Burt Thompson, the commission's engineer-manager.

“We still could have a lot of winter here yet,” Thompson said. “Until we know what winter’s going to end up costing, we felt we had to on hold on to major purchases until we get a better handle on costs.”

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid