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GRDadof3

Highway and Road Construction Updates

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We already have an EV surcharge. I'd like to see that repealed (though I have a selfish reason for that—it'd save me some money on our PHEV minivan registration renewal). It really comes down to what taxes are intended to accomplish: solely to raise money, or also to influence behavior? Of course, it's really impossible to avoid influencing behavior, so we need to decide what sort of behavior we want to incentivize. I see increased EV adoption as a benefit, even if it does force us to come up with more creative road funding schemes down the road (I think EVs will remain a niche enough market segment in Michigan that we can wait until the next round of road funding battles). And gas consumption has other externalized costs—CO2, affects on public health, etc.—that we should be addressing.

Yes, an increase to the gas tax will be harder for poor people to avoid. But that's true of just about any tax: wealthy people are more able to adapt to avoid a higher tax burden, whether that's by purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, setting up a living trust to avoid probate costs, offshore bank accounts... Doubling the EITC is a good start, but we could do more to make our tax structure more equitable, in general.

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7 hours ago, discgrab21 said:

My first reaction to reading the proposal was "woof, that is going to make gas really expensive." But then I swallowed hard and admitted that, yeah, if we want to have nice things, we'll have to pay for them somehow, and its going to cost a lot no matter where the revenue comes from. 

Discgrab21 has got it correct. You want major improvements like extra lanes on the freeways,  new ramps etc. they have to be paid for.

Also keep in mind MI has one of the highest tax on fuel because of the sales tax on fuel which goes to the general fund.  12-18 cents on  $2-$3 fuel. I am not aware of any diversions to the general fund from the actual fuel tax.  There are things like  SOS gets $$ for collecting registration fees and and DEQ $$ for processing Act 51 agency DEQ permits but these have been in place for many years and are not big amounts

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9 hours ago, walker said:

In the long run when we are all whizzing around in electric cars you are right.  Despite all the buzz about the coming future of electric vehicles, the fact is almost all the current new models continue to be bigger and bigger personal use trucks and SUVs and the domestic auto companies are almost eliminating more efficient sedans and compact vehicles.  There was a news article just yesterday about how in the past year fuel mileage has hardly improved despite more efficient engines and a few more electric vehicles on the road because the vast majority of people are buying bigger gas burning vehicles.

Since vehicles last around twenty years, even if electric vehicles started to become popular and available in large numbers in say 2020, it will take a very long time for them to replace gasoline fueled vehicles unless there are large dis-incentives to buying and using gas vehicles (like for example a high gas tax.)

The reason the auto companies are shifting their resources towards electric vehicles is because of the Chinese, not because of U.S. demand.  GM currently sells more vehicles in China than in America.  The Chinese government is pushing electric vehicles, both for environmental reasons and so they will be expert on the technology.  They have imposed a massive tax on new gasoline vehicles and no tax on new electric vehicles.

Passing a higher gas tax will be hard enough.  I fear if any other type of state tax is proposed for raising revenue for roads, it will get bogged down in endless debate given the current political climate.  Whitmer’s proposal is pretty much a copy of the proposal by a non-partisan committee made up of an equal number of former state legislators from both parties.  I think the time to start looking at alternatives to the gas tax is when we start actually seeing a topping off of gasoline sales. 
 

I talked with a  Republican legislator friend today and the mood in Lansing is optimistic that new funding will be figured out for roads. It won't be the big bogged down fight from 2016/2017, because everyone agrees that these priorities are "underfunded" currently. It's highly doubtful that a $.45 gas tax will pass though. I still think a 1 cent sales tax increase mixed with some kind of gas tax increase would be good. And should sales tax charged on gas sales go to roads? Right now, like all sales tax, it goes to the general fund. 

 

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If you're FB friends with me you've probably already seen this post, but as a reminder, starting a week from Monday:
 

And so it begins, April Fool's Day.

Hit #1) "From April 1 through Aug. 30, westbound I-196 will be closed over the Grand River near US-131 for widening and deck replacement. During this time, westbound I-196 will not have access to US-131 and one lane will remain open with access to Fuller, College and Ottawa avenues."

In other words, if you travel from anywhere East of GR via highway to West of GR or downtown, settle into a new routine for 5 months. i.e. be prepared to go up I-96 to 131 and back down to I-196/downtown. Or take M-6. Or back-streets. Or quit your job and find one in Cascade. Or move to Hudsonville.

Hit #2) "In early June, eastbound I-96 will be closed at Leonard Street for approximately five months while the existing westbound I-196 bridge over eastbound I-96 is removed and the new eastbound I-96 bridge is completed. Traffic will be detoured onto southbound US-131 to eastbound I-196."

"The East Beltline Avenue ramps to I-96 and the Leonard Street ramp to eastbound I-96 will be closed throughout the project."

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9621_11008-480166--,00.html?fbclid=IwAR2SLRPxxDgAZwN_H62RiE6PYs10IHoZrZ7s8UxVqd30qMemypSUYPVPqAU

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49 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

All of this work Is going to make my commute interesting for the next year or two. 

Joe

Right because I think in 2020 everything switches to westbound 196 work. 

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It's not just widening the 196 bridge over the Grand River. They are proposing to add a ramp from Division to the existing Ionia ramp to WB 196. At least they hope to do these projects simultaneously instead of completing one huge project, opening the highway for a month and then close it down again for the next project.

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2019/02/187m-proposal-would-add-on-ramp-to-i-196-in-grand-rapids.html

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I noticed they have a lot of steel in place on the north side of WB 196.  So will there be three through lanes now?  I can't recall.

This closure is going to be a clusterf#$%, I think a lot of people will just take Michigan instead of the detour.  

I know it costs more, but I feel like if they're going to be reconstructing it, they should make it able to handle the traffic volumes for the next 50 years instead of what it should have been able to handle decades ago.

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7 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

I noticed they have a lot of steel in place on the north side of WB 196.  So will there be three through lanes now?  I can't recall.

This closure is going to be a clusterf#$%, I think a lot of people will just take Michigan instead of the detour.  

I know it costs more, but I feel like if they're going to be reconstructing it, they should make it able to handle the traffic volumes for the next 50 years instead of what it should have been able to handle decades ago.

Doubt it, then it would have to go from 5 lanes (n and s 131 merge lanes) down to 2 in a really short span, they need to widen bridge over lane and a probably a couple small one before Lake Michigan to get 3 through lanes that far

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There are no lanes being added WB 196 at the river. all the widening is for is to provide shoulders for the ramp lanes.  Still only 2 thru lanes over 131.

Closing I-96 east bound from Leonard is a new development.  MDOT bid the interchange work earlier this  year Estimate was $30 M, bids came in at $52. So they split it in  2. This is a change to hopefully lower the cost.

I read comments on here about MDOT should so this or do that. With additional gas tax funds enacted a year or so ago, get ready for more traffic disruptions. They cannot make improvements w/o closing lanes and or segments of roads.

Edited by Raildude's dad
Correct misspellings etc

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Here we go... expect major construction announcements soon for Michigan, Fulton, Leonard and M6.  Remember, they never just FUBAR one east/west corridor at a time.  When they set out to inconvenience commuters they go all in.  Once this is done, in a few years it will be the north/south commuter’s turn to feel the pain.

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3 minutes ago, wingbert said:

Here we go... expect major construction announcements soon for Michigan, Fulton, Leonard and M6.  Remember, they never just FUBAR one east/west corridor at a time.  When they set out to inconvenience commuters they go all in.  Once this is done, in a few years it will be the north/south commuter’s turn to feel the pain.

I think it's more Feng Shui that way.  That's my story anyway. 

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2 hours ago, wingbert said:

Here we go... expect major construction announcements soon for Michigan, Fulton, Leonard and M6.  Remember, they never just FUBAR one east/west corridor at a time.  When they set out to inconvenience commuters they go all in.  Once this is done, in a few years it will be the north/south commuter’s turn to feel the pain.

All the road agencies have additional funds trying to catch up on 20 years of under investment in the roads.  So there will be a lot more road work than in years past. The I-196 project downtown was supposed to be done last summer. The endangered mussel relocate didn't go as planned so the project completion was pushed back to this year.

i will admit some could do a better job. I was downtown last summer, fortunately on a Sunday, when I followed a detour that took me into another detour, and into a 3rd detour.  I ended up at an intersection with barricades on all the other 3 legs.  So, I just went past the barricade in the direction I wanted to go.  At that point I could get the judge to throw out the ticket if I got one.

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30 minutes ago, Raildude's dad said:

All the road agencies have additional funds trying to catch up on 20 years of under investment in the roads.  So there will be a lot more road work than in years past. The I-196 project downtown was supposed to be done last summer. The endangered mussel relocate didn't go as planned so the project completion was pushed back to this year.

i will admit some could do a better job. I was downtown last summer, fortunately on a Sunday, when I followed a detour that took me into another detour, and into a 3rd detour.  I ended up at an intersection with barricades on all the other 3 legs.  So, I just went past the barricade in the direction I wanted to go.  At that point I could get the judge to throw out the ticket if I got one.

I wonder if 131 through the South end of downtown will ever get resurfaced. Every time I drive that I just can't believe it's been left like that for so long, since I moved here almost 25 years ago. 

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57 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I wonder if 131 through the South end of downtown will ever get resurfaced. Every time I drive that I just can't believe it's been left like that for so long, since I moved here almost 25 years ago. 

That's so funny since I was just thinking the same thing while driving it on Saturday.

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4 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

All the road agencies have additional funds trying to catch up on 20 years of under investment in the roads.  So there will be a lot more road work than in years past. The I-196 project downtown was supposed to be done last summer. The endangered mussel relocate didn't go as planned so the project completion was pushed back to this year.

i will admit some could do a better job. I was downtown last summer, fortunately on a Sunday, when I followed a detour that took me into another detour, and into a 3rd detour.  I ended up at an intersection with barricades on all the other 3 legs.  So, I just went past the barricade in the direction I wanted to go.  At that point I could get the judge to throw out the ticket if I got one.

So 196 bridge was supposed to be closed at the same time as the 96 bridge? Yikes

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1 hour ago, tSlater said:

So 196 bridge was supposed to be closed at the same time as the 96 bridge? Yikes

No.  They were switched around to avoid that.

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5 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I wonder if 131 through the South end of downtown will ever get resurfaced. Every time I drive that I just can't believe it's been left like that for so long, since I moved here almost 25 years ago. 

Longer than 25 years. Except for the patches 28th St to Ann St, that is the original concrete pavement, 60 year old concrete - good stuff.  If MDOT had kept up with joint maintenance, the patches would be smaller and fewer.  If they would micro grind the surface, it would ride smooth as glass.

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Hang on, the S-Curve can't be original concrete. It was completely torn down from Wealthy to Pearl and re-built from scratch in the late 90s...

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Yes, the S-curve - mostly bridges and approaches - was removed and replaced. Opened to traffic in 2000- the year my daughter graduated from high school, that's how I remember :) .

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