Road builders: US House vote big win for Michigan

AP News
Posted: Dec 17, 2009 2:50 PM

Michigan might not have to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in federal road money after all.

The U.S. House on Wednesday voted to exempt the state from having to make matching contributions in a new $154 billion federal stimulus package.

Michigan road builders said Thursday that the move could prevent the struggling state from having to forfeit as much as $600 million a year it would have lost if it couldn't come up with the matching funds. The bill still has to pass the U.S. Senate.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association said Michigan is likely to get around $850 million, the amount it got under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But an association spokesman said Michigan must do more to increase state money for roads and bridges.

"While the news from Washington is encouraging ... state policy-makers must still fix the long-term funding problem," association Vice President Mike Nystrom said in a news release.

Nystrom said Michigan's spending remains well short of what's needed to prevent further decay of existing on roads and bridges and keep up with demand for new ones.

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently said a lack of money has forced it to consider dropping 200 road and bridge projects in 2010-14. Congress' action could have it rethinking that decision.