Michigan is underfunding its road system by between $2.1 billion and $3.9 billion a year, and the condition of highways and streets will continue to decline if funding is not substantially increased, according to a study released Tuesday.

The analysis was commissioned by the Michigan Transportation & Infrastructure Association, a trade group that includes road and bridge contractors.

The report says the state needs $9 billion annually to follow a maintenance cycle that maximizes the life of all roads before they must be reconstructed and saves money in the long term — well short of the $5.1 billion it budgets. The Michigan Department of Transportation and County Road Association of Michigan have estimated the need at nearly $7.2 billion, the study states.

The analysis accounts for additional revenues from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 bonding program and the 2021 federal infrastructure law but does not factor in inflation, so there is an apples-to-apples comparison to previous estimates. Following the approval of a 2015 law that increased fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, a state commission estimated a $2.2 billion funding gap.

The report, which was done by Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants, warns that “failure to use the right fix and maintenance approach at the right time will significantly increase the funding necessary and only exacerbate the gap” to potentially more than $11 billion per year.

This article originally appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business. To read the full article, click here