Former representative believes request for road funding ignored

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To the Editor,

The decision to use critically limited road funds to repave portions of M-52 while Occidental Highway is crumbling is an illustration of the mismanagement and misguided priorities that have become a signature of state government.

As an MDOT official recently stated, “The list of projects is not intended to be the projects statewide that have the greatest need.” Rather, $230 million dollars was set aside for lawmakers to use as a personal slush fund to be allocated to pet projects in their districts. That’s not fiscal responsibility. That’s political pork.

With the current state of our roads, any and all road funds coming to our community should be used to repair infrastructure with the greatest need. Unfortunately, pork barrel spending has become the acceptable way to spend budget “surpluses” by those in control in Lansing. We need to hold our elected officials to a higher level of accountability and fiscal responsibility. Taxpayer dollars should be spent on the public good, not repaying political favors.

When I was a state representative, my duty was first and foremost to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Too many in Lansing no longer hold that value. The time for consulting with the local experts to determine the greatest need in the community was eight months ago — not now. Had I been in office, my request for road funding would have been based on that consultation. And if that request were ignored and replaced with something else, I would have demanded that MDOT explain why.

We can and must do better when selecting those who represent us in state government.

Doug Spade

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