Legislation that would allow counties to scrap their road commissions is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder. Once the governor signs the bills, it would be up to county commissions to decide whether to get rid of their road commissions, and take over their responsibilities.
Road commissioners say that will add too much politics to road management, and could shortchange snow-plowing and other services.
Democratic state Representative Barb Byrum voted against the measures, saying it would be too easy for county commissions to divert money currently used for plowing and repairs to other purposes.
"I have sincere concerns about what will happen if the county road commissions are absolved into the county board and what will happen to those road funds," she says. "Currently, they're designated to be used on roads but, I just, I have some serious concerns."
On the other side of the isle, Republican state Representative Dale Zorn says county commissions won't abolish their road commissions unless it makes financial sense.
"I believe it will work in some counties," he says. "In some counties, it won't be as advantageous for them to do. It really depends on how much money is being paid in the cost of administrative services.
The measures cleared the state House Tuesday on largely party-line votes. Governor Snyder is expected to sign the legislation. It's one of the measures he called for as part of a drive to make local government more efficient.