Barry County road commission director weighs in on Prop 1

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BARRY COUNTY, Mich. -- FOX 17 rode along with Barry County Road Commission managing director Brad Lamberg.

"This is Lawrence Road. It's an east-west primary road in Barry County. I believe it's currently our worst condition primary road in the county," he explained.

He believes Proposal 1 would help greatly when it comes to funding needs for road repair.

"I see a lot of confusion out there with the electorate on what Proposal 1 is versus what it isn't," Lamberg said.

Proposal 1 is on the May 5th ballot. Voters will decide if they want to eliminate the sales tax we pay at the pump. The sales tax doesn't fund roads.
Also, a 'yes' vote will increase the gas tax which is currently 19 cents per gallon. That money does go to roads.

In addition, the retail sales tax in Michigan would go from 6 to 7 percent. Much of that tax goes to the school aid fund and local governments.

"It's difficult for people to want to pay more taxes, and that's strictly what we're up against," Lamberg said.

Opposition to Proposal 1 and the tax increase certainly exists. "Citizens Against Middle Class Tax Increases" is one of the organized groups opposing the measure. Republican political consultant John Yob started the campaign. He's with Grand Rapids-based Stategic National. He told FOX 17 in February that working and middle class citizens don't want nor can they afford a tax increase.

Lamberg said if citizens vote 'no,' then a discussion needs to take place regarding alternatives. He said Barry County is about $10 million behind in paved
road repair needs. He said the county has a total of 1100 miles of paved and gravel roads to maintain and gets some help from the townships.

"The insufficient funding has not allowed us to do the right repairs at the right time on this road," Lamberg said.

He added, "You can see a lot of distresses up and down the road that are too far gone to do cost-effective preventative maintenance type repairs."

"Similar to changing oil [in] your car. Now we're buying new engines on these roads," he said.

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2 comments

  • Cameron Earl

    there is a new section of roadway on this rd. that was done 2 yrs ago. All new asphalt, it has not been sealed and you can see the cracks forming. My question is why hasn’t it been sealed? Roads would last allot longer with some tar and stone put down. I will vote NO on this money grab. If it was just for roads it would be different.

  • Pam L.

    This proposal would mean that everyone would help to pay for these programs. Not just the regular tax payers. Rich people buy more, so they would pay more. People who are on welfare, people who live off the grid, people who pay cash (both Dave Ramsey followers and people who don’t want to be found or traced) will now be helping to pay for the roads and some other programs. We still need to help to cut the budget more in the discretionary areas.

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