County/City Funding Pressure

While the above data mainly examined state trunkline conditions and spending trends, it is important to also look at local spending and how it is holding up. Unfortunately, there are numerous signs that county and city funding is beginning to fall in the face of stagnant MTF distributions.

Just one of many examples can be found in Ingham County which is having to temporarily end its improvements related (as opposed to routine maintenance) “local match” program for townships. Townships have to put up at least half of funding for “county local roads,” with the county road commissions limited to being able to put up no more than half of the cost of projects for these roads. However, because of a lack of funding and dramatically higher costs, the Ingham County Road Commission has had to end all contributions to local county roads, meaning townships will have to put up the full cost.[85] Another indication of funding pressure can be found in Meridian Township where they should be replacing six miles of county local road a year for a 25-year cycle but only have money for two miles per year. For county primary roads in Ingham the county should be resurfacing 20 miles per year but can only afford to do one mile per year with available funds.

Another example of austerity budgets at the local level can be found in Oakland County. The road commission there has to cut its budget for 2007 by 12 percent compared to 2006 due to a lack of funding. Oakland has eliminated its entire resurfacing program for 2007. However, some bigger projects have been able to be moved forward with bond money MDOT provided to counties for use in matching federal funds.[86] Ottawa County also could be used as an example of the kind of funding pressure local agencies are under.[87] They have had to lay off 25 percent of their staff this year in order to avoid deficits.