Michigan’s roads and bridges are a pressing concern. A Gallup poll in 2014 found their condition to be a top concern of voters. Surveys commissioned by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and Fix MI State in 2018 obtained similar results.
Roads are vital to Michigan’s economy. Approximately $860 billion in freight moves through Michigan’s highways, rails and ports every year. Thirty-eight percent of the half-trillion annual trade between U.S. and Canada’s flows though Michigan.
This study examines the funding and condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges and presents policy recommendations regarding them. The first section of this study describes the different types of roads in Michigan, which government entity is responsible for each type and their current estimated condition. The section after that explains how road funding works. The next section then discusses how public goods such as roads should be priced and funded, based on standard economic theory. It also attempts to measure the level to which Michigan’s roads are underpriced and underfunded. The final section concludes with some policy recommendations.