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GRDadof3

Highway and Road Construction Updates

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10 hours ago, cutlervillegr said:

My critiques tend to be related to the following:

1) When MDOT repairs a road, they tend not to future proof it.  Examples being the twin I-196 projects in GR and Hudsonville.  If you're going to take the time and money to do a major rebuild/reconstruct, why not prepare for future growth, too?  MDOT seems to do projects for the present, or even for the traffic levels of 5-10 years ago.

2) Too often, I hear that Michigan roads are poor due to the weather conditions.  Having grown up in an area of the country with twice the snow and similar temperatures, you can plow and salt the roads, and repair potholes.  Somehow, Michigan hasn't looked to other states in the Northeast and Midwest to figure out what they already know about dealing with snow and freeze/thaw.

Taxes and fees (also taxes) can be slushed around and make it difficult to tell state vs. state who is investing more or less in infrastructure.  I don't know truly where Michigan stands, but I do know that Michigan taxes are not so low that under-investment can be the sole explanation for Michigan's infrastructure.  I have to think that poor management, bad decision making, and poor engineering (see M-6 west of 131) have contributed collectively to the state of the roads.  

No it's mostly because we've been underfunding for too long. A lot of our revenue now goes to pay back debt (apparently) because we've underfunded for so long and MDOT had to borrow money.

Per capita we spend way less than other states, especially our Northern neighbors. We're ranked near the bottom:

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigans-neighbors-spend-more-capita

"Minnesota invests $275 per capita in roads - $121 more, and Indiana spends $289 per capita - $135 more. Wisconsin spends almost twice as much per capita as Michigan does, at $302 per person, and Illinois invests $412 per capita - $258 more per person."

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Heard that section of I-196 going east was backed up all the way to Zeeland, adding another 45 mins to everyone's commute...

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29 minutes ago, Floyd_Z said:

Heard that section of I-196 going east was backed up all the way to Zeeland, adding another 45 mins to everyone's commute...

I found today that the onramp at Fulton westbound onto I-196 is going to be closed "intermittently" from 9am to 3pm. WhoTF knows what intermittently means. Anyone? I was going to actually call MDOT to find out because there's nothing online. On my land-based phone. Rotary. 

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12 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I found today that the onramp at Fulton westbound onto I-196 is going to be closed "intermittently" from 9am to 3pm. WhoTF knows what intermittently means. Anyone? I was going to actually call MDOT to find out because there's nothing online. On my land-based phone. Rotary. 

Hell, I have to drive from Montague to GR.  I have to deal with multiple areas of Eastbound 96 from Muskegon to GR under construction just to get to the F’ing gridlock in GR.  I have taken to driving through Fremont and Newaygo to ultimately drive Alpine to get to town.  You know its bad when Alpine is your clearest route to get into the City.  

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13 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

Heard that section of I-196 going east was backed up all the way to Zeeland, adding another 45 mins to everyone's commute...

As a GR-Holland commuter I can confirm that. I took a combination of side streets, country roads and Chicago Drive and my commute was around 55 minutes. 

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6 hours ago, wingbert said:

On the bright side, once all these improvements are completed, the commuters of 2009 will love the highways.

Maybe they will start planning for the 2035 construction to bring it up to par for today’s needs

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On 4/16/2019 at 7:20 AM, GRDadof3 said:

Per capita we spend way less than other states, especially our Northern neighbors. We're ranked near the bottom:

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigans-neighbors-spend-more-capita

"Minnesota invests $275 per capita in roads - $121 more, and Indiana spends $289 per capita - $135 more. Wisconsin spends almost twice as much per capita as Michigan does, at $302 per person, and Illinois invests $412 per capita - $258 more per person."

That would explain why I was so shocked at the road conditions when I moved here after living between Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota my entire life. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 10:34 AM, 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. 
 

Not that anyone was arguing with me but I thought that I'd post this article from today's Detroit News that reinforces what I wrote about where the push is coming from for electric vehicles at the same time their actual sales in the U.S. are unfortunately falling.  The News also mentions Europe and California, along with China.

DETROIT NEWS: why-automakers-betting-so-big-electric-vehicles

I just got back from California last week.  It was fun walking the warm beaches along the Pacific at Mission Beach in San Diego.  While channel surfing the TV in the hotel, I noticed most of the car ads were for electrics.  Can't say I've noticed that around here but then I don't watch TV when I'm home, dropped cable a long time ago. 

Edited by walker

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59 minutes ago, walker said:

Not that anyone was arguing with me but I thought that I'd post this article from today's Detroit News that reinforces what I wrote about where the push is coming from for electric vehicles at the same time their actual sales in the U.S. are unfortunately falling.  The News also mentions Europe and California, along with China.

DETROIT NEWS: why-automakers-betting-so-big-electric-vehicles

I just got back from California last week.  It was fun walking the warm beaches along the Pacific at Mission Beach in San Diego.  While channel surfing the TV in the hotel, I noticed most of the car ads were for electrics.  Can't say I've noticed that around here but then I don't watch TV when I'm home, dropped cable a long time ago. 

You’ve probably never noticed because Michigan ranks somewhere between 45-50th state by percentage of EV adoption 

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Cool footage....cringe at the blown opportunity to actually do something “Grand” on 196 bridge of the “Grand” river in “Grand” Rapids 

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On 5/4/2019 at 11:12 AM, GR8scott said:

You’ve probably never noticed because Michigan ranks somewhere between 45-50th state by percentage of EV adoption 

Hopefully that changes when they start coming out with electric SUVs and trucks. That, more than anything, is what holds Michigan people back from buying electric when they live in a state that’s snow-filled half the year. Also, the price at this point is prohibitive when the average household income in Michigan is $54,000. The more EVs that start getting rolled out, the more we’ll see those prices fall in line with fossil fuel vehicles.

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8 hours ago, GR8scott said:

cringe at the blown opportunity to actually do something “Grand” on 196 bridge of the “Grand” river in “Grand” Rapids 

couldn't agree more.  and also the 196/131 interchange.  It's horrendous 

Edited by jthrasher

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I know MDOT is strapped for cash, but it seems like it’s a missed opportunity for the city, whatever replaces grand action, etc. to have come together and tacked on some money to make a statement. 

Joe

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12 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Hopefully that changes when they start coming out with electric SUVs and trucks. That, more than anything, is what holds Michigan people back from buying electric when they live in a state that’s snow-filled half the year. Also, the price at this point is prohibitive when the average household income in Michigan is $54,000. The more EVs that start getting rolled out, the more we’ll see those prices fall in line with fossil fuel vehicles.

Additionally, I think half the EV sales right now are all in Tesla, and laws in Michigan no thanks to automaker lobbyists have made it very difficult to purchase Teslas in Michigan.

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Detroit is the motor city, people are big into horsepower around here.  Electric vehicles can be just as fast, but I was listening to the Formula E cars and it's a little hard to get used to lol.   

There's always going to be those anti-electric, lets roll some coal, screw you hippies and your environment kind of people as well.

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12 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

Detroit is the motor city, people are big into horsepower around here.  Electric vehicles can be just as fast, but I was listening to the Formula E cars and it's a little hard to get used to lol.   

There's always going to be those anti-electric, lets roll some coal, screw you hippies and your environment kind of people as well.

 

My guess is the breakdown in the market is roughly this:

10% are old-fashioned motorheads or "own the libs" anti-environmentalists (two distinct categories—don't be offended if you belong to one but abhor the other).
10% are passionate environmentalists. They either already own an EV or dream of purchasing one (after their Prius dies).
80% are people that just want to commute to work, shuttle their kids around, and run errands.

Even in Michigan, I think [PH]EVs are already creeping into the 80% segment; and they'll barnstorm in during the next extended gas price spike. The prospect of refueling using price-regulated electricity is alluring, and the math is covering more use-cases every year.

My PHEV has both sound preferences covered: nearly silent in EV mode (I'm tempted to disable the pedestrian warning speaker, but I understand its purpose), while the gas engine has a really good sound (especially for a minivan) when you open up the throttle.

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