Lansing – Today, State Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) along with Representatives Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) and Jeff Noble (R-Plymouth) introduced a three bill package aimed at helping fix Michigan roads by creating the Michigan Innovative Transportation Fund.
The fund, which would be administered by experts outside of the Michigan Department of Transportation, would: review, publicly post, implement, and then analyze ideas on ways to improve Michigan roads without increasing state spending.
“As chair of the appropriations subcommittee which budgets for roads, I get as frustrated as anyone when I hit a pothole,” said Hernandez. “With the billions of dollars we’re currently spending, and a department of transportation with no plans for road quality to increase in the foreseeable future despite newly implemented tax increases, I think it’s about time we start looking at smarter ways to do business.”
The legislation introduced today calls for a total of $15 million from existing transportation spending ($4.5 billion expected in next year’s budget) to be used to test innovative ways to build or repair Michigan roads. Examples would include (but not be limited to): new road additives, experimental machinery/techniques, or any other ways Michigan could improve road quality.
A list of current projects under consideration would be publicly available online, and a clear application process would exist for anyone to submit ideas directly to the board overseeing the funding.
“During my time as transportation subcommittee chair, I have seen numerous instances where the private market is hesitant to speak up with ideas and suggestions due to their relationship with MDOT. I hope this legislation gives an avenue to bring all ideas to the table,” Hernandez continued, “I want to thank Representatives Sheppard and Noble for having the courage to challenge the status quo and work for the taxpayers of Michigan.