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New funding allows for more work for Road Commission

Alex Doty • Oct 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Construction season is winding down across Ottawa County, and officials from the Ottawa County Road Commission say they’ve had a successful year improving roads and bridges across the county.

Over the past year, the Road Commission resurfaced approximately 24 miles of primary roads and seven miles of local roads across the county. Preventative maintenance was performed on over 60 miles of roads, and bridge maintenance and multiple drainage projects were also done.

“This year, we were able to add several roads to our list that we didn’t think we’d be able to get to,” said Zach Russell, spokesman for the Road Commission.

Russell said the busy season was made possible in part because of increased revenues from the Michigan Transportation Fund, as well as from revenues that come in from the voter-approved road funding millage.

In November 2014, county residents passed a millage of .5-mil per year for 10 years.

“All of that money goes toward roads,” Russell said, noting that it is for reconstruction, resurfacing and preventative maintenance tasks.

In 2015, a $1.2-billion road funding package was approved that hiked fuel taxes and registration fees and also takes $600 million a year from the state's general fund to fix and maintain Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges. The hikes, which kicked in this year, will devote the full $1.2 billion to transportation by 2021.

“It’s still not enough to make every road perfect,” Russell said. “But it’s a couple of steps ahead from where we were.”

The County Road Commission recently approved the budget and Strategic Improvement Plan for 2018.

The budget for 2018 inlcudes 23.7 million in MTF revenues, $4.7 million in federal and state grants, $3.47 million from the county road millage and $4 million in township contributions.

The approved 2018-22 Strategic Improvement Plan uses the anticipates revenues and road condition ratings to develop a plan for the maintenance and improvement of the county roads.

“There’s a lot of different things that go into looking at what roads need to be done,” Russell said.

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