Who takes care of the roads in Michigan?

State law specifies that cities, villages, counties, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) have jurisdiction over public roads.

These agencies are responsible for constructing and maintaining the public roads that fall under their jurisdiction. They also carry the legal liability for the roads and funding for roads is provided by the state legislature only to these agencies.

State Law – Public Act 51 – specifically states that cities, villages, county road commissions and the Michigan Department of Transportation have jurisdiction over roads. That means those government agencies are responsible for building and maintaining the roads within their jurisdictions. They also carry the legal liability for those roads. Road commissions also work hard to maintain roads within their jurisdiction- and although drivers don’t always know who is responsible for the roads they drive on, they can be assured that county road commission is taking the best care of the roads, with the funding that is available.

Michigan funds public roads mainly through a per gallon gas tax (.19 per gallon) and vehicle registrations. There has not been an increase in road funding via gas tax since 1997.

The U.S. Census Bureau ranked Michigan dead last in the entire country for its per capita spending on roads. In fiscal year 2009-10, the most recent figures available. Michigan spent just $154 per person on its highways, or about 0.45 percent of personal income. Our state has ranked at least 42nd or worse in per capita road spending for the last half century. (Michigan Township Focus, June 2014)

Townships do not have jurisdiction over roads and do not receive any funding directly from the state. Instead, county road commissions maintain roads in townships with road commission funds. Some road improvements in township – i.e. bridge replacement, road widening, etc. – are federally funded. Townships often help provide a matching of funds for local road projects. The Charter Township of Raisin is contributing tax dollars to help improve our local roads.

Concerns and questions about roads can be communicated through the Contact Us page on the Lenawee County Road Commission’s website.  Click on the link below:

Lenawee County Road Commission