Northern Michigan Road Commission Budgets Feel COVID-19 Impact

Northern Michigan road commissions are starting to take a closer look at their budgets as the state experiences a drop in revenue, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Road construction season is well underway in Grand Traverse County, but the road commission is expecting to lose around $1 million in funding that would normally come from the motor transportation fund, or MTF.

That fund relies heavily on money from the gas tax.

“Until the economy really fires back up and we get people out driving again, that’s the key, for us especially with everyone coming around, we drive a lot of motor transportation funding because of the tourism that comes up here. If people aren’t driving to come up for tourism reasons, we have an issue that is problematic for the entire state,” said Grand Traverse County Road Commission Manager Brad Kluczynski.

That could force the county to scale back some projects.

“A lot of it is going to come out of potentially dropping projects. We would still have our crews in to do routine maintenance. “The resurfacing type jobs we put a lot of motor transportation funds into those as well as our millage which is going up for a renewal here in November,” said Kluczynski.

In Wexford County, the road commission lost $64,000 MTF dollars in March and expect to lose double that in April.

“We can absorb that with our fund balance if it does affect us negatively we’ll adjust next summer, may not do as much paving or not buy the equipment next year. We’ll have to wait and see until July and see where we’re hitting,” said Road Commission Manager Alan Cooper.

The road funding package passed in 2015 calls for around $300 million dollars in road funding in the next state budget, a number road commissions will watch closely.

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Categories: Coronavirus