Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Marine Passenger Services

$1,000,000[198]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Program Description:

This program subsidizes the island boat services provided to the residents of Drummond Island, Nebbish Island, and Sugar Island.

Recommended Action:

The cost of boat rides should be borne by the residents themselves; if one chooses to live in a remote area where transportation is difficult, one should be responsible for paying the associated costs, and not demand subsidies from other Michigan citizens.  This $1 million program should be eliminated immediately.

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

State Transportation Maps

$88,800[199]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Program Description:

Included in the Bureau of Transportation Planning budget is funding for this program, which distributes 6,000 maps a year to all members of the State Senate and the State House free of charge; the maps are then altered (usually the legislator's name, office location, and photo are placed on the map) and given to constituents.

Recommended Action:

The state should immediately end this program, as it unduly subsidizes the reelection campaigns of state legislators--who, via their incumbency, already possess a large advantage over all possible challengers.  Michigan maps are already provided by several private companies.

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Targeted Economic

$14,666,100[200]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Development Fund;

 

 

Targeted Industries

 

 

Program Description:

This program subsidizes the construction of access roads for major Michigan industries. For example, both Domino's Pizza and General Motors have been beneficiaries of grants.

Recommended Action:

The construction of access roads that primarily serve a particular company should be funded by the companies themselves, not by government.  The state should eliminate this program.

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Freight Property Management

$2,600,000[201]

$250,000 from Federal Funds;

 

 

$2,350,000 from Special Revenue Funds

Program Description:

This program funds the maintenance of the 706.64 miles of operational railroad track that the state owns.

Recommended Action:

As Dr. John C. Taylor of the Wayne State University School of Business has written, "There is no valid reason for the state to continue to be involved in railroad track ownership. As a general rule MDOT supports getting out of this business, but more needs to be done to implement that position.  This track should be sold to the highest bidder in an open process that assures the state the best available price.  Sales revenue will not be substantial, but the state should save several million dollars a year in maintenance costs."[202]

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Rail Passenger Service

$1,750,000[203]

All from Federal Funds

Program Description:

This program subsidizes two Amtrak routes: the Port Huron to Chicago via Lansing and Grand Rapids route, and the Marquette to Chicago via Grand Rapids route.

Program Recommendation

Eliminating Amtrak subsidies has been suggested recently by a number of United States congressmen and many national public policy research institutes.[204]  Unfortunately, the federal government has not done so; many subsidies, such as these, still persist.  Amtrak should become independent of government assistance and be required to freely compete with other providers in the transportation market.  This subsidy should be eliminated.

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Detroit/Wayne County

$301,900[205]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Port Authority

 

 

Program Description:

This program subsidizes the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Advertising Program.

Recommended Action:

The City of Detroit and Wayne County should be responsible for its port authority's advertising program, if such a program is to be conducted at all.  The Department of Transporatation agrees taht this subsidy should be eliminated. In fact, the Department, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Commerce, recommended legislative action to phase out state financial assistance beginning in FY 1994. The conference committee voted to reinstate full funding.[206]

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Intercity Bus Equipment;

$2,000,000[207]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Intercity Bus Development

 

 

Program Description:

These programs subsidize the repairs and purchases of Greyhound and White Plains buses that service routes between selected Michigan cities.

Recommended Action:

A Department of Transportation official has been quoted as saying that if the state did not grant such subsidies to Greyhound and White Plains, "there would be no service" to these selected cities. Even if true, this fact fails to justify the program.  The market economy is an invaluable system for many reasons, not the least of which is the efficiency with which it disperses information--including information regarding where entrepreneurial opportunities lie and where they do not.[208]  The market has sent a clear signal to the commercial bus industry that service to some selected Michigan cities is simply not a wise move; and as a result, it has acted on such information and decided not to supply such services.  This is not an inefficient or undesirable outcome as some suggest; on the contrary, it is precisely what we would like to see in a market system: rational decision making.  The state should end these subsidies and allow the market to operate correctly.

Program

Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown

 

 

 

Local Bus Operations

$107,000,400[209]

All from Special Revenue Funds

Program Description:

This program subsidizes local bus systems throughout the state--up to 40 percent of total operating costs for each system.

Recommended Action:

Funding for local bus systems should be provided by local riders, not state government.  Local control and funding provides greater accountability and requires that local systems prove their worth relative to other transportation alternatives.