Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the state’s transportation director, LTU alumnus Kirk Steudle, came to Lawrence Technological University on Dec. 1 to make the case for additional funding for road repairs.
Two years ago Snyder chose LTU’s Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR) as the backdrop for his ambitious proposal for creating new revenue sources to support more than $1 billion in additional road work annually. His initial proposal went nowhere in the Michigan Legislature, but the governor has continued to push for more funding for the roads.
Now Snyder is calling upon the Legislature to take action during this month’s “lame duck” session before the newly elected members of the Michigan House and Senate are sworn in next month.
CIMR was once again chosen as a fitting location for making this plea. Both the governor and the Michigan Department of Transportation have been very supportive of the research conducted by LTU Engineering Dean Nabil Grace and students on using carbon fiber to replace steel in bridge construction. Bridges that last 100 years should be the result. MDOT has provided support for four bridges built with carbon fiber.
Grace said the need for better bridges was dramatically illustrated this past summer when chunks of concrete fell off a bridge on I-96 while an LTU professor was inspecting it with a group of students.
The need for better funding for road repairs – and higher taxes if necessary – was supported at the meeting by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. Many legislators also attended the meeting to demonstrate their concern about the issue.