Road commission mulls over private road maintenance

CENTREVILLE – The St. Joseph County Road Commission Board discussed possibly taking over the maintenance of some private roads in the county during a work session Wednesday.
Commissioner Rodney Chupp broached the subject Wednesday, saying the commission could potentially create a policy or procedure regarding when and how the commission could take over the maintenance of some private roads.
Road Commission Manager John Lindsey said the “simple answer” was that roads “don’t generate enough revenue” to maintain other existing roads in the county.
“For the last 10 or 15 years, this road commission and most other road commissions have not been interested in taking over private roads,” Lindsey said.
Road Commission Engineer Garrett Myland expanded on that point, providing a handout to the commissioners detailing how much money road commissions get from the Michigan Transportation Fund and how those funds are dispersed.
Myland explained that the Michigan Department of Transportation, starting in 2021, will have an estimated total county distribution of approximately $1.183 billion. MDOT then pulls out 10 percent of that amount for urban roads, approximately $118 million, and 4 percent for local roads, approximately $47 million. After those funds are dispersed, that gives the MTF a net county distribution of just slightly over $1 billion.
Myland said urban roads are classified within an “urban area boundary,” which includes roads in Sturgis and Three Rivers and roads just outside both cities, such as Wait Road in Sturgis and Buckhorn Road in Three Rivers. With those urban roads, the state adds up the number of urban primary miles and urban local miles for the entire state, and then divides out the $118 million equally based on that number, which determines how much the county road commissions get paid per mile of road.

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