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Gov. Whitmer: ‘Use all available resources’ to fix Michigan potholes

pothole
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive directive orders the Michigan Department of Transportation to use all its available resources to fix potholes. (Shutterstock)

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive Wednesday ordering the Michigan Department of Transportation to use all its available resources to fill potholes. 

A recent study claimed Michigan has the nation’s third-worst potholes based on Google search statistics. The American Automobile Association estimates that U.S. drivers spend nearly $3 billion a year fixing damages caused by potholes.

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In a Wednesday statement, Whitmer said she’s directing the state to speed repairs through overtime payments and contractors. 

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“Dealing with car damage from driving over potholes while on your way to work or school is frustrating for every Michigander. No family should have to spend their hard-earned money on repairing a flat tire or a broken axle caused by these potholes,” said Whitmer. 

“I will continue to work with anyone to fix the damn roads, make long-lasting investments in our infrastructure, and put Michigan first.”

Most years, Michigan spends $6 million to $7 million a year to fill about 400,000 potholes. That’s in addition to the ones that counties and local communities fix.

State Transportation Director Paul Ajegba said the best defense against potholes is regularly scheduled road maintenance and replacement, which requires significant funding. 

“When we are not clearing roads from the latest storm, our crews will be out fixing potholes as quickly as possible,” he said.

Michigan is ranked 10th among states for having the worst road conditions. The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates it will cost $2 billion a year to fix the state’s roadways.

More than a third of Michigan roads are considered in poor or mediocre condition, and a 2019 study claimed bad roads cost drivers another $648 per year in repairs.

Whitmer promised to “fix the damn roads” when she campaigned for office in 2018, but failed in her efforts to raise the gas tax by 45 cents per gallon to raise another $2.5 billion per year. 

Instead, she has scaled back her plans, issuing bonds to pay for repairs and investing some $4 billion over her tenure to repair more than 13,000 miles of roads.

This year, Whitmer has proposed $6.3 billion to fix state and local roads, bridges, airports, transit and rail programs.

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