Oakland Co. OKs plan to spend $2M on road repairs

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Oakland County officials have approved spending $2 million to patch potholes and repair roads weeks after a state road funding plan was crushed at the polls.

The county’s Board of Commissioners last week unanimously voted for a one-time appropriation of $2 million to help the Road Commission of Oakland County buy equipment.

Officials said the move will enable the Road Commission to shift money earmarked for equipment to fixing roads.

“While this action will not fix all of our road problems, it is something that can have an immediate impact,” said board chairman Michael Gingell, R-Lake Orion. “Ultimately, the longer-term, sustainable fix needs to come from the Legislature, and we are hopeful that a solution will come forward soon.”

Gingell sponsored the resolution the commissioners approved.

He said the one-time expenditure will not harm the overall financial health of the county, which has approved a balanced budget through 2020.

On May 5, 80 percent of Michigan voters rejected Proposal 1, a plan that would have raised the state sales tax from 6 cents to 7 cents to help pay for road repairs.

The following day, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson asked county commissioners to approve the appropriation to help the Road Commission replace 12 aging tandem dump trucks with accessories and three John Deere motor graders that cost $3.8 million.

Craig Bryson, a spokesman for the Road Commission, said the agency appreciates commissioners’ willingness to help.

“It’s also greatly appreciated that they recognize there’s a need,” he said. “It shows they’re concerned about our roads and willing to put some skin in the game.”

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican legislative leaders agreed to use $287 million of surplus tax revenue for road repairs in the next fiscal year.


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