While state and local road crews are being highly praised for their work during last week's massive snow storm, officials with the Michigan Department of Transportation say that effort has taxed an already-stressed maintenence budget, and it could limit work this spring and summer.
MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson says the state maintenance budget has averaged about $88 million a year for the past five years.
With the added demand from last weeks storm, it will now require a re-evaluation and probably limited work for non-winter maintenance later on, such as mowing, pothole patching and badly-needed upgrades to equipment like road vehicles including snow plows.
Cranson says MDOT continues to face "tremendous resource challenges" and officials are "running on borrowed time" with some equipment.
He blames a gas tax that hasn't been adjusted for inflation and people driving more fuel-efficient vehicles for not bringing in the needed revenue.
All state highways are maintained continuously during a storm, and all of the roughly 300 MDOT snowplows and 900 county and municipal winter maintenance vehicles that are available are on the road.
MDOT's annual maintenance budget starts in October, with winter maintenance being the top priority, because of health and safety concerns.