Gov. Gretchen Whitmer talks Michigan roads ahead of State of the State address

Whitmer asks MDOT about resources needed to fix roads for good

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer invited Local 4 to ride along with her as she discussed the state’s crumbling roads with officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“It’s hard because we have to address the problem without the real resources to rebuild,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer rode with MDOT officials to take a look at the crumbling infrastructure and find out what they need from Lansing to fix the roads for good.

MDOT officials said they’re stuck because there’s not enough funding to make the right repairs.

“We use all the state of the art materials and equipment to build our roads,” an MDOT spokesperson said. “We’re like every other state out there, where we use similar materials. But we just can’t do the depths of the fix that would give it the longevity that we need.”

While talking about solutions to the funding, Whitmer wasn’t shy about bringing up the controversial gas tax.

“No one’s thrilled about paying the gas tax, but they understand it and they say we’ve got to do something that would actually fix the problem,” Whitmer said. “Forty-five cents would have fixed the problem.”

But she said Republican’s weren’t on board, so the gas tax stalled.

“I did what I said I was going to do and put a solution on the table,” Whitmer said. “I knew that it wasn’t an easy one, but it was real and it was a serious solution, and all I ever got back from the Republican Legislature is, ‘No.’”

Last year, Help Me Hank was out on the roads with Whitmer as she worked to pitch her plan. She was optimistic but also aware she might need to bend a bit.

Now what? Some Lansing insiders believe instead of a tax, the governor might secure the money using road financing, arguing that this is an investment in the future and that without quality roads, the state could literally crumble.

“I’ve got to keep moving forward because they’re not going to get any better by waiting,” Whitmer said. “They’re only going to get worse.”

You can watch Whitmer’s State of the State address live on Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit. It begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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