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Branch County Road Commission looks to share resources to save money


COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The Branch County Road Commission says with the winter weather and snow removal season rapidly approaching, it’s continuing to pursue joint equipment purchasing and staff agreements with area counties and cities in an effort to reduce costs and maximize budget savings.

The road commission says it has shared labor with the Hillsdale and Barry County Road Commissions as well with the County Courthouse and the City of Coldwater. They have also actively pursued joint equipment and materials purchasing with the cities of Coldwater and Sturgis along with the Hillsdale and Lenawee County Road Commissions.  Gordon Porter, Branch County Road Commission Chairman said the Michigan Legislature has not increased transportation revenues available to road commissions, state gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, since 1997 and during that period, costs of commonly used road construction materials and the cost of items such as diesel fuel and salt/sand for winter maintenance have increased dramatically.

According to Porter, to bring 80% of roads in Branch County to good and fair condition would cost approximately $12.4 million and to sustain that condition would cost approximately $8.4 million annually. However, Porter says total annual state funding is only $3.9 million, and much of that is directed toward snow removal and summer routine maintenance needs.