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Michigan Road Funding


Natural and state resources require enough money to remain at their utmost standard. These resources include roads, dams, and forests. The governing bodies around these sources are responsible for foreseeing their maintenance. They have to incur some costs to do so. Each state in the United States has different means to find the relevant funding for their roads; paying taxes by citizens, the presence of toll booths, and fueling are some of the standard funding done across all states. Michigan is known as one of the coldest areas in the United States, and winds from the Great Lake warm the cold winds, resulting in a moderate and moister climate (“Michigan – Climate,” n.d.) This has resulted in a lot of damage to the roads. In this essay, we will identify the state of the roads in Michigan and the various ways the state funds road construction and maintenance.

State Of Roads In Michigan

The dire state of the roads in Michigan has become a worry for the citizens residing there. The state has a road cover of approximately 120,000 miles. The roads are classified into two; local roads and federal-aid roads. The federal-aid roads include the freeways, major arteries, and minor arteries. An analysis carried out by The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council annually states that the roads are really bad and getting worse each day. 41% of the federal roads were classified as poor in a study carried out in 2017/18. The roads in Michigan were ranked 30th overall in the country. Many factors are responsible for the bad state of the roads. Potholes are a major threat to the roads, which have been a menace to the users of these roads. These potholes cause a great deal of damage to the people’s vehicles. The moist climatic conditions that result from the warm weather cooling the cold wind have been the main cause of the road breakages and the formation of potholes.

Funding Of Roads in Michigan

Many states in the United States get their funding from taxes on fuel, others have introduced toll booths to increase their road funding to boost their road quality. Some of the neighboring regions have embraced the use of toll booths to raise more funds. The state of Michigan’s funding has taken different forms. The new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Paul Ajegba, echoed that the state does not have enough money to fix its roads. He said the state was experiencing a gap of $1.5 billion until 2031 (“real state of Michigan roads: Poor and getting worse without more cash,” n.d.). The Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Trust Fund is where Michigan gets its federal funding. Road users are one of the key contributors to the funding of the roads. This funding comes from the income tax paid by the citizens, state fuel taxes, and vehicle registration fees.

The vehicle registration fees and the fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel taxes cover a large chunk of the revenue paid to the Michigan Transportation Fund. The revenue is then delivered to the Michigan Department of Transportation, villages, and cities. Fuel taxes contribute to $1.4 billion, while the vehicle registration fees amount to $1.2 billion (“,” n.d.). The taxes received from gasoline and diesel are paid directly at the pump. Trucks that travel from one state to another are covered by the International Fuel Tax Agreement, which allows them to calculate the miles they travel in Michigan and approximate the diesel required to travel those miles. They pay the diesel tax and an additional 6 percent sales tax. The suggestion of introducing toll booths at different road points is a good idea, but it would be a bad disadvantage to the state funding of the roads. Truck drivers passing through the state of Michigan will be forced to use another convenient route to avoid the toll booth charges they may incur if they pass through Michigan. The people of Michigan will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to pay an extra charge despite the fuel and other tax charges that they are already paying.

The vehicle registration fees are paid according to the estimated price and the vehicle’s age. Commercial trucks registration fees are based on their gross weight. Trucks that carry commodities like logs, goods, and milk pay a reduced amount of tax, not equivalent to the weight they carry. This leads to a reduced revenue to the Michigan Transportation Fund. Since the weight restriction laws are more genuine in Michigan, poor roads might be affected. The Federal Road funding obtains its money mainly from the taxes on diesel and gasoline paid by the National Highway. The Michigan Department of Transportation reported that two lighter trucks carrying the same load pose a greater risk to roads than a heavy truck. The residents who possessed expensive cars were charged higher vehicle registration fees than those who owned cheaper ones. This measure can be inconvenient as compared to the weight of the vehicle. The expensive car may weigh lighter but pay more registration fees, while the cheaper passenger cars might weigh heavier and cause more damage to the roads.

I believe that the state of Michigan can increase how it can fill the annual gap of $1.3 billion. That gap is an expensive gap for road maintenance, meaning that the damage done on the road amounts to that gap or even more. Prevention is better than cure. The state of Michigan should look for ways and means of preserving their roads from these damages or find more means of raising more money for road maintenance. This goes by regulating the lenient tax payment allocated to commercial trucks and their weight capacity. They should monitor the weight of these trucks and regulate if they are roadworthy. This measure will reduce the annual gap for road construction and maintenance. The research carried out has convinced me to understand how the whole funding process goes about. I understand that all the taxes collected are transferred to the Michigan Transportation Fund and then disbursed to the Michigan Department of Transportation, cities, and local villages for fixing damages on the roads, painting marks on the road, restructuring road signs, and maintenance of road rails that have been damaged or rusted. Some of the money is channeled into the Economic Development Fund, whose main target is to reduce congestion in urban areas and create an all-season road for rural areas (“,” n.d.). Twp percent of the revenue on the gas tax is given to the Recreational Improvement Fund for maintenance of recreational areas, i.e., parks, lake cleanups, etc.


I am interested in this study because of the importance of roads in our economy. Roads provide a convenient communication channel to conduct businesses, shipping goods from one location to another at an affordable price and touring the local states and areas. Road transportation is available to everybody, and everybody uses it. We are all beneficiaries of this means of transport, and realizing that we fund the same roads through fuel taxes and vehicle fees is good for keeping them in good shape. Bad roads make it inconvenient for businesses to run smoothly and are also known to damage the cars of those using them. Due to the pandemic breakout, in-person interviews could not be carried out. Still, maybe if the effects are reduced, I would interview some of the Michigan Department of Transport and the Michigan Transportation Fund members. I would further my research study to learn about the different strategies applied to the roads.


How do I calculate IFTA? (n.d.).

How road funding works in Michigan. (n.d.). Mackinac Center.

Michigan – Climate. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.

Michigan roads: How bad are they, how are they funded, and how can they be fixed on earth? (2020, January 30). Michigan Radio.

The real state of Michigan roads: Poor and getting worse without more cash. (n.d.). Michigan news, state, politics, jobs, education | Bridge Michigan.

The real state of Michigan roads: Poor and getting worse without more cash. (n.d.). Michigan news, state, politics, jobs, education | Bridge Michigan. (n.d.).

“Transportation Economic Development Fund: Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2017” (Michigan Department of Transportation, Dec. 13, 2017), 2,


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