Majority of Michigan voters support road millages

Ninety-six percent of the total 168 road millages on the Tuesday Aug. 7 Primary Election ballot were met with a “yes” vote from Michigan residents yesterday, according to the County Road Association of Michigan.

Of the 13 county-wide road millages on yesterday’s ballot, 11 were renewals and two were proposed new or additional millages.  One hundred percent of the 11 county-wide millage renewals passed, in keeping with statistics for the last decade.  Two city millageswere also on the ballot, one a renewal and one proposed.

A new county-wide road millage was adopted in Ionia County, bringing the state total to
29 county-wide road millages.  A proposal for an additional three mills across Van Buren County did not pass.  A proposed 4.3 mills for the city of Brighton was also defeated; two other city millages passed.

“The third time a county-wide millage was attempted in Ionia County was evidently the charm, as over 5,800 voters approved the single mill compared with just over 4,600 ‘no’ votes,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan. “New millages often take more than one trip to the polling place before the electorate fully supports them.”

Of the 153 township road-related millages on the ballot, 135 were renewals of which only one failed (Jonesfield Township, Saginaw County).  Of the 18 proposed township millages, 14 were approved by voters.

When confronted with a millage renewal at the voting booth, the rate of approval was very strong.  Among millages that were re-authorized yesterday, the average was 70 percent voter approval.

“The data shows very clearly that restoring Michigan’s roads and bridges remains a top priority and is strongly supported at the polling place,” Donohue said.
“When Michigan residents have the opportunity to weigh in on millages to support local road work including maintenance done by their county road agencies, voters strongly support the work to maintain Michigan’s roads,” she said.

Most local millages were put on the ballot to fund road repair and maintenance, which includes pothole repair, snow plowing, grading gravel roads and other preventive routine care.  In some cases, local millages support work like resurfacing and reconstruction projects.

The 83 members of the County Road Association represent the unified voice for a safe and efficient county transportation system in Michigan, including appropriate stewardship of the public’s right-of-way in rural and urban Michigan.  Collectively, Michigan’s county road agencies manage 75 percent on all roads in the state, including 90,000 miles and 5,700 bridges.  Michigan has the nation’s fourth-largest local road system.