July 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

Wayne Co. to partner with townships for $14M in road repairs over two years

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano says communities can't wait for a solution from the state. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Redford Township— Wayne County officials announced Wednesday a cooperative road projects initiative that will bring in $14 million in repairs over two years to townships throughout the county.

The plan calls for the townships to prioritize roads they’d like to see repaired. Nine townships are eligible to participate and would be responsible for 20 percent of the costs.

They are Brownstown, Canton, Grosse Ile, Huron, Northville, Plymouth, Redford, Sumpter and Van Buren townships.

The county, through its Department of Public Services, would fund 80 percent of the road fixes.

County Executive Robert Ficano said the Township Roads Initiative is a way for the county to work with townships to fund repairs that would be too expensive for the communities to finance on their own. Township officials are scrambling for more road repair dollars following the inability of the state Legislature this year to agree on a comprehensive road funding program that would generate an extra $1.2 billion a year.

“The ultimate solution is for the Legislature to come up with a plan,” Ficano said. “This approach is proactive and a way for us to stretch the dollar. We’re obviously waiting for a much larger solution from the Legislature, but at the same time we’re not going to just sit around.”

Townships, unlike cities, do not receive state gas tax revenues for road repairs. The townships must rely on the county for road-related fixes and local residential roads are often given the lowest priority, Ficano said.

Townships appreciate “any time we can get people to think about us and not ignore us,” said Robert Nix, Northville Township supervisor. “It’s certainly an opportunity, and we certainly appreciate the assistance and the cooperation.”

The funding pool will be available to fund projects for fiscal years 2014-16. The roads eligible for repair are the ones under the county’s jurisdiction and not eligible for federal funding.

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