State shows support for local projects; hope the trend continues

It is good to see some road projects in the Upper Peninsula receive funding from state grants recently.

A total of about $6.9 million were awarded to four U.P. counties, including: Alger County, $700,000 for two projects; Schoolcraft County, $4.9 million for two projects; Dickinson County, $775,000 for one project; and Menominee County, $525,000 for two projects.

The grants came from the state’s Roads and Risk Reserve Fund, which was created during the past budget year from savings in the state’s general fund, providing one-time general fund expenditures for infrastructure investment.

In Alger County, included will be $400,000 to upgrade 1.5 miles of Lehnen Road to Alger County Highway 58 and $300,000 to improve Highway 44 over 1.5 miles.

Statewide there were 103 projects that received roughly $115 million. The grant funding augments $121 million from the state’s General Fund used to fully match available federal transportation funds.

These grants will be available Feb. 1 and are the second round of allocations, with the first batch being awarded Oct. 1.

State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said Michigan Department of Transportation engineers did a good job identifying and selecting projects, and he lauded Gov. Rick Snyder’s office for commmitting to long-term solutions to improving infrastructure.

Snyder in turn praised state lawmakers for their commitment to investing in the state’s road system.

The local road commissions in Casperson’s district were also cited by the senator, who credited them with working together to prioritize projects across the entire district.

We’re encouraged to see all this cooperation on getting funds from Lansing out to the local agencies, which are the ones that know which projects need to be done.

This cooperation on road funding will hopefully carry over to other aspects of state government in the future and lead to more local projects receiving financial support.