As gas prices continue to rise, the Calhoun County Road Commission may be cutting back on some planned summer or fall projects.

As of April 30, 2011, the CCRC has used approximately 55,036 gallons of fuel at an estimated cost of $179,121.

We budgeted $350,000 for 2011.

Not only do the higher gas prices increase our operating costs (some of our trucks only get a few miles per gallon and we have over 1,300 miles of roads to maintain), we will actually receive less money in funding as people cut back on the amount of gasoline they use. Our March 2011 Michigan Transportation fund, which we will receive this week, is down 9.5% from March of 2010.

The Michigan Transportation Fund is the road commission’s primary source of revenue. State fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and other transportation related fees are deposited into the MTF and distributed based on a formula established in Public Act 51 of 1951.

Unfortunately, gas tax revenues have not kept up with inflation recently. The Michigan Legislature last increased the gasoline tax in 1997. The tax on diesel fuel has not increased since 1984. For the CCRC, we receive less funding in real dollars, while our expenses continue to increase at the rate of inflation or more. At the same time, the needs on Calhoun County roads continue to grow at a rapid pace. We must survive on the gas tax, which is fixed at $0.19 per gallon, and does not increase as the cost of fuel rises.