In April, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reiterated a promise she made to Michiganders six years ago: “We’re going to keep fixing the damn roads so you can safely get to where you’re going.”

That post to X was followed by another days later that featured the governor atop a CAT paver with no required protective gear: “On my way to keep fixing the damn roads,” it read.

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This week, she was at it again with an announcement from her press office declaring “Governor Whitmer Continues to Fix the Damn Roads with Projects Starting This Week in Eight Counties.”

“Through the end of this construction season, we will have fixed, repaired, or replaced nearly 23,000 lane miles of state-owned roads and 1,600 bridges since I took office, supporting 89,000 jobs without raising taxes by a dime,” Whitmer declared on Tuesday.

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Here’s the reality: “Roads are deteriorating faster than the agencies can repair them.”

That damning assessment comes from Michigan’s 2023 Road & Bridges Annual Report that showed while the state improved 16.2% of roads eligible for federal aid between 2021 and 2023, 21.2% of those roads declined.

It’s the same deal for non-federal aid roads, of which “47% were found to be in poor condition … (or) 2% more than from 2021 and 2022,” according to the report.

And despite Whitmer’s best efforts, things are only going to get worse without significantly more money from taxpayers.

“Without additional and consistent long-term investment, the percentage of roads in poor condition will continue to increase as the increasing construction cost outpaces the ability to fix them,” the report reads.

Currently, about 33% of Michigan’s paved federal aid roads are in poor condition, while 41% are fair and 26% are in good condition. By 2035, the Transportation Asset Management Council that compiled the report forecasts 52% will be in poor condition, 28% in fair condition, and 20% in good condition by 2035.

The state of Michigan’s bridges – already the worst in the Great Lakes Region – are expected to follow a similar trajectory, MLive reports.

“This forecast for the severe condition category predicts an increase in future years, with 20% of all bridges to be in the poor or severe category by 2035,” according to the report.

How exactly Michigan will address the growing road problems remains unclear as the primary source of revenue for repairs – the state’s gas tax – is dwindling with federal mandates to increase gas mileage and a government-imposed transition to electric vehicles.

“Michigan roads are quickly approaching a revenue cliff as the state this year begins to spend the last $700 million tranche of $3.5 billion the Whitmer administration borrowed in 2019 to pay for highway reconstruction projects after lawmakers rejected proposed tax hikes,” The Detroit News reports.

“When the $3.5 billion runs out next year, the state will be saddled not only with paying off the loans and interest of that program but also facing an estimated annual revenue shortfall of up to $3.9 billion for needed road work across Michigan.”

Democrats in Lansing have a solution: track and tax Michigan drivers by the mile.

They’ve proposed spending $5 million in the next fiscal year to create a technical advisory committee tasked with designing a mileage-based road user free pilot program for the Michigan Department of Transportation to test in 2025.

“The baseline question we are asking ourselves right now is, what is the quickest way to be able to do a pilot in Michigan,” Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, chair of the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee told Bridge Michigan. “I think it’s a little too early to design the program and have specifics, but … we would look at the variety of different ways that states around the country have been doing it and just figure out what works best for the state.”

Whitmer announced another possibility on Thursday as she closed out the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference: a “Shark Tank style” competition that would seek ideas from Michiganders for problems she hasn’t figured out how to fix.

This year’s PitchMI competition, she said, will focus on roads and mobility, The News reports.

“Is it a new way to fix the roads?” she asked on stage Thursday. “Maybe it’s improving the range and efficiency of electric vehicle batteries. Connecting public transit systems.

“To everyone out there who eats, sleeps and breathes fixing the damn roads, now is your chance.”