Road commission director discusses transportation issues

FLINT TWP. — In his “annual pilgrimage” to talk road work to the township board last week, Genesee County Road Commission Director John Daly delivered the disappointing news that legislation signed that day by Gov. Rick Snyder will allow the dissolution of county road commissions.

The township board was one of many municipalities that adopted a resolution in recent months opposing proposed House Bills 5125-5126 to consolidate services by making the road commission a county-run department.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said then that she would expect to “see less service given to each county for township roads” with passage of the bills.

Trustee George Menoutes called the proposed takeover “a nightmare.”

Daly had also been vocal in his opposition.

But the bills are now law and place the fate of the road commission in the hands of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.

Ted Henry, vice chairman of the county commission, who also was present at last week’s township meeting, said that the matter was not up for immediate discussion.

“We have a whole list of items we are working on,’’ Henry said in response to a direct question about plans for the road commission. “I’m not giving you the brush off. We have not acted yet on the road commission,” he said.

Daly encouraged the board to communicate its feelings to the county commission. The law is effective immediately and though optional only requires two public hearings by the commission before it would be put into effect, he said.

The Genesee County Road Commission currently maintains more than 1,813 miles of roads and streets and over 250 signalized intersections, according to information on its web site.

In other matters, Daly discussed other proposed transportation legislation including measures for a nine cents per gallon fuel tax increase and another to increase car registration fees.

Road funding in Michigan is undergoing substantial changes, he said.

“What we’re seeing is something proposed under Gov. John Engler to shift the responsibility from the state to local units of government even more than it is now,’’ Daly said.

For years, the state has collected funds for roads and distributed it to counties according to a formula, he said.

Daly said he found it hard to believe that in the current economy the government would consider raising fuel taxes and registration fees.

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