The City of Lansing rates its streets on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. The scale is broken down into "good," "fair," and "poor" categories, each with a recommended maintenance treatment. As shown in the table below, 258 miles out of our 414 network miles are rated poor or worse:
As shown on the graphic below, the average rating of the entire street system has been declining for years and currently sits at 4.14.
For reference, a system-wide rating of 7 is considered desirable.
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After a street is newly reconstructed, it has a life expectancy of roughly 20 to 30 years. However, this life expectancy can be extended by performing preventive maintenance. Factors that contribute to pavement deterioration include: aging, freeze-thaw cycles, truck traffic and insufficient preventive maintenance. Freeze-thaw cycles happen when moisture enters tiny cracks in the pavement and then freezes. As the moisture freezes, it expands and further opens the cracks. As this process continues, eventually a pothole forms. This process is further explained in the graphic below:
As the pavement continues to age and deteriorate, additional preservation treatments can be implemented such as micro-surfacing, chip seals, thin overlays, milling, repaving and then ultimately reconstructing. These treatments, when applied in a timely manner, can greatly extend the life of a pavement.
As shown below, preservation treatments applied in a timely fashion can more than double the life expectancy of pavement.
Lansing’s street network has been underfunded for years, which in short answers the question. The effect of the long-term lack of funding is why our system is in such poor condition. In order to address the current condition of the system, annual funding needs to be over $25 million. The actual funding for street repair needs has averaged less than $4 million per year as shown on the following graph:
As the lack of funding of our streets continues, the cost to fix our street network continues to increase rapidly; growing from $100M in 2006 to $211M in 2016.
The primary source of funding comes from Act 51 – a gas and weight tax that gets paid at the fuel pump. Currently, Lansing is receiving approximately $11.9 million per year, and most of that is used for snow plowing, potholing, moving, and routine maintenance. Of that $11.9 million, only $2.4 million is used for street repairs. The reason for this is because the Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) provides between $1 to $1.5 million for rehabilitating major streets. The rest of the funding is generated from a general fund that's annual amount is assigned from the City's tax revenues. So, when the economy is poor like it has been in the past, there is isn't any allocation of money, which in turn means that there isn't any general fund allocations either.
In addition to this, the public safety and infrastructure millage generates approximately $1.95 million per year for operational and maintenance costs such including approximately $300,000 for paving local streets.
Act 51 primarily funds maintenance and a small amount of capital improvements. Historically, the City has had regular outside sources of funding for the street system for capital improvements. Because $25 million is needed and only $4.2 million is provided, there is a $20.8 million shortfall. In order to fix this, possible solutions include changes at the state level to the gas and weight tax as well as adding an additional special millage.
Here are a few ways that residents can get involved:
-Try using the 24 hour pothole hotline: (517) 483-4161.
-Contact your elected officials about supporting increased funding at the state and local levels.
-Make service requests directly to City officials by using Lansing Connect, a mobile and online service request system for the City of Lansing.
Submit a Service Request Online
Download the Lansing Connect Mobile Application