Senate approves Zorn’s local road agency bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved legislation by Sen. Dale Zorn to help local road agencies make important infrastructure improvements.

Senate Bill 522 would put into state law an existing grant program, which directs funding to a local road agency association for local technical engineering assistance in the permitting process and in complying with state and federal requirements.

“As part of a multi-bill package to improve road policies in Michigan, my bill would establish a position within the Transportation Asset Management Council to help our local communities navigate the cumbersome bureaucratic process,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Local road agencies with limited resources can often struggle with the complex state and federal requirements, and this would help solve that problem.

“The goal of this measure and the entire package is to help ensure Michigan families are getting the most effective use of their taxpayer dollars.”

The Senate Republican road policy reforms would also:
• Maximize the use of federal transportation funding that the state receives;
• Improve current road warranty program to provide better value;
• Require Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to study the feasibility of tolls on Michigan bridges or roadways;
• Improve collaboration between the state and local roads agencies by extending local asset management horizons and ensuring MDOT continues to supply long-range plans; and
• Require MDOT to develop a road construction inflation index to measure changes in cost within the highway construction industry annually.

SBs 515-520 and 522 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.