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Michigan Laborers Call for Increased Funding for Roads and Bridges

Laborers, citizens, elected officials push for critical infrastructure funding

DETROIT — Earlier today, the Michigan Laborers, joined by local citizens and lawmakers, called for a renewed push for both state and federal funding to improve Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

The Laborers staged a press conference at Christ Church Detroit where they featured the “Getting Schooled in Infrastructure” school bus. The prop is part of a campaign by LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – to press Congress to pass a long-term, full-investment Highway Bill this year. The prop features a real school bus, which has been crushed and carries a prop resembling a large piece of a fallen bridge. The bus also speaks to Michigan’s lack of necessary road funding and serves as a wake up call to Michigan lawmakers.

“Michigan’s roads are facing challenges from two sides: Congress’ failure to pass long-term investment in our infrastructure through the Highway Bill and the state legislature’s willful inaction to find a road funding solution to fix our crumbling roads and bridges,” said Mike Aaron, business manager for Laborers Local 1191. “On both a national and state level, our elected leaders have failed to act and we’re calling on them to get back to work.”

State Senator Bert Johnson, State Representative Marilyn Lane and Dearborn Schools bus driver Liz Ellis joined Aaron at the press conference. The stop in Detroit was the first destination on the “Fix Our Roads” tour, where Laborers will be traveling across the state pushing for more infrastructure funding to improve Michigan’s roads and bridges.

Ellis, who has been a bus driver for 25 years, said over the years she’s seen the roads get worse and worse and she called on Michigan lawmakers to act.

“I have a message for Michigan’s lawmakers,” Ellis said. “Your job needs to get done. We need our roads and bridges fixed. You’ve known about this problem for too long and you need to get back to work. As a bus driver I’m very concerned about my students’ safety and the legislators need to get to work fixing our roads to make sure our students and drivers are safe.”

“If the federal Highway Trust Fund fails and the state legislature continues to vacation and seek reelection while our roads deteriorate further, Michigan’s drivers will only become more unsafe,” Aaron continued. “Michiganders want action. They’re willing to pay for safe roads and bridges, but Congress and the Michigan Legislature must act.”