Category Archives: Transportation

Rising cost of salt could bust road budgets this winter


The rising cost of salt could be a budget-buster for road agencies this coming winter.

“It’s a simple supply-and-demand situation, obviously, and we went through a ton of salt, all agencies across the state and the upper Midwest because of last year’s winter,” says Jeff Cranson of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “And we anticipate this year, we’re going to have another pretty rough winter and, now, we know going into it that salt prices are going to be up.”

Cranson says the cost of salt is about 50 percent more than last year. Cranson says the state and local road agencies used 656 thousand tons of salt last winter. The same amount would cost about $40 million today.

He says history suggests it could be years before the cost of road salt goes down. He says it’s one more reason the state needs to come up with more road revenue.

Governor Rick Snyder is pressing the Legislature to approve a package to raise more than a billion dollars for roads.

Snyder hopes Legislature will tackle road funding in “lame duck”

Tesla1021-fotoFresh of a re-election victory that also saw more Republicans elected to the Legislature, Governor Rick Snyder is developing plans for the next four years. But he says the Legislature should not wait for the new year to approve some sort of plan to raise more than a $1 billion dollars in revenue for roads and transit projects.

“My top priority with respect to the legislative agenda is comprehensive transportation funding,” says Snyder. “We need to do something about our roads … and I would hope to do something about that even this year.”

The governor says he hopes lawmakers will be more receptive to a funding solution now that the 2014 elections are in the rearview mirror. Several efforts to cobble together a road funding package stalled this year. Both the state House and the state Senate will remain under GOP control when the new session begins in January with even larger GOP majorities.

Snyder says road problems only become more expensive to fix with time. A critical mass of Republicans – and some Democrats — oppose raising fuel taxes or fees to pay for roads. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has been a leading advocate for increased road funding. Leaders of the Republican-allied organization say, if necessary, they’ll lead a ballot drive to force lawmakers to deal with road funding.

Alterations made to award-winning license plate

Displayed is the original plate (top) and the updated plate (bottom). Photo courtesy of the Secretary of State.

Displayed is the original plate (top) and the updated plate (bottom). Photo courtesy of the Secretary of State.

It’s been out for just about a year, and changes have already been made to Michigan’s newest, and award-winning, license plate.
Read more