Every few years, the American Society of Civil Engineers produces a report card of the nation’s infrastructure. The last year the ASCE produced a report card for Michigan, the state received a D for the overall condition of its infrastructure.
There is now talk in Washington D.C. of a proposed infrastructure bill within the first 100 days of the incoming administration that would provide $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next 10 years.
This funding at the federal level could help Michigan improve roads, which have been rated some of the worst in the country. In the ASCE’s last report, it found that 38 percent of Michigan’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition and 25 percent of its bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Federal solutions would help, but statewide solutions are required as well – and the sooner, the better. For every $1 that would be spent to maintain a road in good condition, $7 has to be spent to repair a road that’s fallen into poor condition, according to a report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Regardless of the source, we are simply not investing enough in infrastructure to adequately maintain what we have, let alone responsibly build new infrastructure. If we continue to kick the can down the road, we will be creating a larger bill for future generations to pay.
Michigan’s economy depends on a functioning infrastructure. It connects our industries and communities and allows our businesses to thrive and our citizens to live productive, healthy lives. In order to improve our infrastructure, our state and nation have to invest in it. It is time for a sustainable infrastructure funding plan to be developed and the political will mustered to gain support for it. Until we do that, we will continue to have infrastructure ranked as some of the worst in the nation, putting our state at a competitive disadvantage with other states.
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Benton Harbor is a community that has begun to understand the social, physical and economic consequences of infrastructure maintenance on a community and is working hard to develop a comprehensive asset management plan to make sure the community’s needs are met today and for years to come. As part of this effort, Abonmarche has completed PASER ratings for Benton Harbor's streets; street sign, manhole, and drain inventories and assessments; and a water reliability study. All these elements will be combined into a comprehensive asset management plan developed with community input and will allow the City to make better, more informed decisions regarding future projects and investments. We believe a comprehensive, community-oriented approach allows for the development of a sustainable asset management plan with broad community buy-in.