This article originally appeared in The Gander. For more, click here.
Millions of dollars in state grants awarded this month through the Michigan Department of Transportation will help fund road repairs across dozens of rural villages and cities across Michigan—and none of them have a population of more than 10,000 residents.
State officials last week announced that the state’s Community Service Infrastructure Fund is paying out $8 million in grants to help cover road construction projects across 47 communities.
“These grants will help communities across Michigan fix local roads faster to save drivers time and money,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Let’s keep working together to fix the damn roads so people can go to work, drop their kids off at school, and run errands without blowing a tire or cracking an axle. Let’s get this done to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
State lawmakers created the fund in 2018 as a way to help Michigan’s smaller cities and villages afford road repairs, which is often a challenge for tiny towns with limited financial resources—especially as critical, one-time funding often heads off to the state’s larger cities.
Since its inception, the fund has provided about $3 million annually to dozens of cities and villages with populations of 10,000 or fewer. And this year, thanks to another $25 million earmarked for the fund in the latest state budget, the program is bigger than ever before.
“Since I took office, Michigan has fixed 20,000 lane miles of road and 1,400 bridges while supporting over 100,000 jobs, and today’s funding will add to that total,” Whitmer said.
Grants awarded through the fund require a 50% match from local towns. They are awarded based on financial need and prioritize towns that haven’t received funding in the past. The state budget has enough funding to keep the program running for at least another two years.
All told, 47 different cities or villages across 32 counties received funding this month.
They include: Armada; Baroda; Barryton; Belding; Belleville; Benton Harbor; Boyne City; Breckenridge; Caledonia; Capac; Clinton; Concord; Constantine; Dansville; Davison; Durand; Ecorse; Elberta; Elkton; Fowlerville; Flushing; Frankfort; Galien; Grand Ledge; Hancock; Highland Park; Houghton; Imlay City; Lake Isabella; LeRoy; Manistee; Mason; McBain; Middleville; Muskegon Heights; Newaygo; Ontonagon; Parchment; Romeo; Roosevelt Park; Swartz Creek; Tawas City; Wayland; Webberville; and Whittemore.