TAYLOR — The majority of the city’s streets and roads were rated fair to poor according to the city’s city recently Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating study. This study, which is done every two years, helps project future road repairs in the community as part of a 10-year comprehensive plan.
From fiscal 2014 through year-to-date 2019, the city spent $11.5 million on local and major road concrete and asphalt repair. The great majority of that work – over $8.3 million – has been spent on local roads.
New road projects are usually announced officially in the fall and begin in the spring.
The majority of community roadwork funding is captured through Act 51 (which is essentially the state gas tax). Metro Act 48 can also be the source of some local repair funding. Given that 25 percent of Taylor sits in a Tax Increment Finance Authority, road improvements in some locations can be funded directly by TIFA funding.
The city has attempted to stretch its road repair dollars as far as possible by focusing on concrete panel replacement versus complete road rebuilds. Replacing concrete panels when possible focuses on fixing problematic areas of the roadway without replacing the entire thoroughfare, and keeps costs in relative check.
The PASER study involves inspecting every street in Taylor, and rating its “health.” The ratings vary from 1 (failed) to 10 (excellent) and everywhere in between.
The color key is at the bottom of the maps that can be accessed below. Gray lines represent roads that are not in the city’s jurisdiction (state, county, private, etc.). Orange are failed roadways; shades of purple and gold represent poor; khaki, yellow and lime represent fair; dark green is good; light blue very good; and dark blue excellent,
This year, the city’s PASER study was rolled out in three separate PDF maps. One shows the ratings of all roads, the second the ratings of only asphalt roads, and the third the ratings of only concrete roads.
“Breaking out the maps like this will give our residents better visual of the PASER ratings throughout Taylor,” Mayor Rick Sollars said. “This system takes time and makes sense, but it is only as good as the amount of funds that are allocated to invest in our roadways.
“Everyone knows that Michigan needs to invest more heavily in infrastructure, but leaders at the state level have not come to an agreement on a new plan for more investment. Until a better plan and more funding comes, we will continue to invest what we can in our local roads by using the most logical formulas possible.”
The system was developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Transportation Information Center. The visual inspection to evaluate pavement surface conditions, when assessed correctly, provides a basis for comparing the quality of roadway segments. The advantage of this method is that roads may be assessed consistently, constantly and quickly.
In and of itself, the PASER study does not define the schedule of the roadwork. Communities are required to prioritize, focusing first on major roads. After major roads, city officials evaluate the local roads for “greatest need,” which involves traffic volume, school access, etc. The city also analyzes residential complaints about roads annually, and factors them into the overall equation.
“Our experience over the recent past is to evaluate every street in Taylor, every two years, and stretch our funding as far as we can,” Mayor Sollars said. “We have improved a lot of our streets markedly, but like most communities in Michigan, our roads remain unacceptable at times and our state funding formula needs adjustments. We invest every dollar wisely, but those funds are never enough.”