Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele: Local roads are left behind again
RELEASE|May 9, 2024
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele on Wednesday voted against the Department of Transportation budget because of a critical lack of funding for local roads. Instead, the budget included $15 million for aerial drones and $3 million for electric bike incentives and excludes transparency and accountability. Recent research found that Michigan ranks 47th nationally regarding the quality of pavement roads.

“The quality of our roads ranks near dead last nationally, yet Lansing Democrats are more focused on buying drones and E-bikes than filling potholes,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Wasteful spending like this is what got us into this problem in the first place. We have to stop investing in unnecessary projects that have no return on investment for taxpayers. Regular people don’t care about electric bikes. They do care about constantly having to fix their cars.”

Democrats are painting the budget as an increase in road funding for local municipalities. But all new funding is automatic and results from a 2015 Republican plan to ensure future road funding. That plan is considered the only successful effort to boost road funding in decades.

“Obviously any increase is a good increase. But in this case, the only increase is a result of a 9-year-old law and a pathetic display of what we could be giving to fix our local roads,” Steele said. “Republicans won’t vote to support the bare minimum and we definitely won’t support pathetic. There is room in this expansive budget to fix roads without raising taxes or creating toll roads.”

The MDOT budget also removes several key transparency measures installed by past Republican leadership to hold government more accountable. These changes include removing record retention, ditching a notification requirement for when MDOT enters into a long-term contract, and a requirement that MDOT would promote best practices for public transportation and regularly report on their efforts. The budget also removes disclosure requirements for when high-ranking employees receive loaded severance packages.

“Bureaucrats in Lansing can’t help but go back on their promise to make state government more transparent,” Steele said. “Politicians play nice in the press. Some even introduced phony legislation to pretend like they care. But as soon as the public stops paying attention, their true intentions are revealed. We need leaders who seek transparency because they believe in it, not just because it got them here.”


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