Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would eliminate certain cost-sharing mandates that local governments face when an interstate freeway runs through their boundaries received final approval from Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this week.

“The funds that will open up by eliminating this requirement are crucial to local road projects,” said bill sponsor Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “Several communities in my district have expressed great frustration with the current system because of the stress it puts on their budgets.”

The state’s road funding guidelines are line-itemed in a 1951 law commonly referred to as Act 51. Under this structure, the State Trunkline Fund, which includes freeway funding, receives 39.1 percent of road funding, county road commissions divide 39.1 percent, and cities and villages divide the remaining 21.8 percent.

Before this legislation was approved, however, cities and villages with a population over 25,000 were required to return a portion of their 21.8 percent to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) when freeway projects fall within city or village limits.

Senate Bill 1068 would eliminate that requirement.

“I don’t think it is fair that communities have to return a portion of their budget meant for local roads they own to the government entity whose job is to maintain our freeways,” Knollenberg said. “These communities receive a little over half of what MDOT receives, and this money should go toward maintaining roads within their boundaries, snow removal and other local needs.”

Knollenberg pointed to just one project on I-75 that cost the city of Troy $9 million and the city of Royal Oak $4 million.

“Royal Oak, Troy and Madison Heights will see almost $20 million in relief — that’s just three communities in my district. This bill will help up to 45 local governments across the state,” Knollenberg said. “While I was initially disappointed with the original veto, I am glad that we were able to come to the table and work toward a common goal and get it accomplished.”

SB 1068 was signed by Snyder on Jan. 4 and named Public Act 459 of 2016.