Program: Transportation economic development fund

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$42,848,300

 

Total:

$42,848,300[4]

Program Description:

This funds transportation projects that support economic growth, sometimes by targeting the project to a particular firm or industry to encourage it to relocate, expand, or remain in the state.

Recommended Action:

The sub-programs listed below are related to the Transportation Economic Development Fund and could be eliminated from the department’s budget.  The costs for such projects could be shifted to for-profit industries and companies that benefit directly from such expenditures.  For more on state “economic development” expenditures, see the chapter on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Forest Roads.  This program funds roads and road safety on public lands that are subject to commercial forestry activities.  The cost of such services should be borne by the commercial interests that benefit financially from harvesting the raw materials in state-owned forests.  Savings:  $5,040,000.

Target Industries — Economic Development. This program funds road projects that will allegedly create or retain jobs in seven specific industries — agriculture and food processing, tourism, mining, manufacturing, office centers, high technology and forestry. Costs of these projects should be borne by the commercial interests that benefit directly from these project-specific roads.  Savings: $19,404,300.

Urban County Congestion.  This program is designed to reduce traffic congestion in urban areas partly by funding public transit and traffic management projects.  Public transit carries only a tiny share of commuters nationwide.  Public transit use in Michigan falls below the national average (5 percent of commuters). Any additional money spent on public transit in Michigan will have negligible impact on congestion and will simply add to the existing costly, and mostly unused, infrastructure.  Savings: $7,952,000.