Apr 10, 2008

Pothole contest illustrates worsening condition of Michigan’s roads

LANSING -- If you think potholes are worse than ever, you're right. It's the worst pothole season in history, according to one advocate for more spending on roads.

And the worst potholes in the state are in the streets of Walker, Waterford, Saginaw and Jackson. That's the word from the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

MITA is a coalition working to secure more funding for Michigan's roads and bridges. It sponsored a month-long contest with the Michigan Transportation Team to identify the worst rim-bending potholes in Michigan. Judges chose the “winners” Monday from 70 photos submitted. The people submitting the winning photos each received a $318“service center scholarship,” the average cost to a Michigan motorist of crumbling and congested roads

“This was an extremely difficult decision because of the sheer number of potholes submitted that would do serious damage to your car,” said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the MITA and co-chair of the MTT. “With Michigan having the worst pothole season in history, there were so many craters to choose from.”

The pothole winners were:
O’Brien Road, Walker; South Jackson Street, Jackson; Irwin Drive, Waterford; and Veterans Memorial Parkway, Saginaw.

Because there were so many entries, the MTT also gave honorable mention to a number of potholes across the state: Dean Lake Road, Grand Rapids Township; Stadium and West Michigan Drive, Kalamazoo; Lafayette and Division Street, Grand Rapids; Ford Road, Canton; and John R, Detroit.

According to the Drive Michigan Campaign, Michigan has an annual funding shortfall of $700 million for its state transportation system and a shortfall of more than $2 billion for local roads. Drive Michigan wants to increase the state' gasoline tax 3 cents a year for three years - a 9-cent gas tax phased in over three years - and a slight increase in vehicle registration fees.

MTT is a broad-based, bipartisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens with the goal of improving Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. The Drive Michigan campaign is committed to “promoting the development and maintenance of a safe, convenient and efficient transportation network.”

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