Michigan's Pothole Problem

Noah Bloom TC's picture


Michigan is known to have one of the worst pothole problems in all of America, with some calling it "the pothole capital of the United States." Potholes are defects in the road caused by water entering the asphalt or concrete's sub-base through surface cracks. Water freezes in early winter, causing it to expand, then thawing with warmer temperatures. (A2Gov.org). Emergency repairs often fill the potholes temporally, but still leave the roads structurally damaged until a full replacement is done.

Some problems relating to Michigan include:

- Most of the 6% sales tax goes towards Michigan school systems, and Michigan is one of just 4 states to use a general sales tax of fuel sales rather than apply a separate fuel tax to go towards problems like the roads.

- State spending on roads is lower than that of neighboring states.

- Michigan has the highest weight limit for haul trucks in the nation, with a number more than double the federal limit.

- Michigan goes through a winter season that puts wear and tear on the roads.

Some questions to ask as you begin this discussion:

How are current policies addressing this issue and to what extent will they provide a fix?

What ideas to you have to fund future repair and replacement of our roads? How will these ideas be funded? 

What implications do crumbling roads have on the state as a whole in relation to transportation?

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