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Ten year backlog of road improvements

February 02, 2011 - Dear Editor,

Many residents are wondering why our township roads are not being maintained to the same level of past standards. To answer this question, it is important to understand who is responsible for township roads and how their operations are funded.

County roads in Brandon Township, which include all roads other than M-15 and private roads, fall under the jurisdiction of the county road commission. Per state law, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) operates under a three member board, appointed by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. Their job is to oversee the operations and budget of the road commission. Although the RCOC makes a considerable effort to work with townships, township officials have no direct control over road commission operations.

Property tax revenue collected from residents is not used to pay the RCOC to grade and plow the primary and secondary roads in our township. Tax revenue is only used for specific road projects such as adding gravel and chloride to secondary roads, paving or bridge replacement.

The majority of road maintenance funding is derived from vehicle registration fees and the state-collected gas tax. This gas tax of 19 cents per gallon does not fluctuate with gas prices and has not increased since 1997. Even though the price of gas has gone up, the consumption of gas has decreased due to high unemployment levels and better fuel efficiency. Cars are able to travel more miles on a tank of gas which increases the wear and tear on our roads. Additionally, the costs associated in maintaining roads have risen dramatically over the last 10 years.

Michigan Transportation Funding received by the RCOC has decreased by $6,000,000 since 2007, resulting in 103 fewer employees. The RCOC has had to adjust their operations according to these limitations. They are currently faced with a 10-year backlog of road improvement projects and an inability to keep their snow removal fleet operational non-stop during major snowstorms.

It is important for residents to exercise extra caution on our roads during these trying times.

Go to www.brandontownship.us for more information on the road funding crisis or visit the township supervisor's office for an informational pamphlet.

The RCOC Department of Customer Services phone number is 248-858-4804.

Kathy Thurman

Brandon Township Supervisor

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