Voters approved new road millage in 2018, but how is that money actually being spent?

Roads are a regular topic of conversation in Canton Township. Potholes are one problem. Traffic congestion is another. In 2018, township voters approved a 1.45 mill increase in their property taxes to pay for road repair and maintenance. The levy adds about $70 annually for every $50,000 in taxable value. 

So where does the money go? According to the township:

  • 55% of the new revenue raised will be used to improve primary roads such as Lilley, Canton Center, and Saltz.
  • 30% goes toward local subdivision roads.
  • 15% goes toward Ford Rd. and other state trunk lines.

As the map below shows, Wayne County and private homeowners associations own almost 95% of the roads in Canton. The Michigan Department of Transportation owns the remaining 5%, including Ford Rd. (M-153). MDOT is working to improve traffic on Ford Rd. by installing a median to make it into a boulevard. Canton Twp. Trustee Sommer Foster says she hopes that will make the road safer.

“It has been noted that Ford Rd. is one of the most dangerous in Wayne County, with three of the most dangerous intersections in Wayne County,” Foster says. “So we, as a board, decided that we wanted to prioritize making that fix for residents and people that work in Canton.”

Canton Township, MIchigan

Keeping pace with PASER

Pat Batcheller

Foster is the liaison to the township’s road task force, which was formed in 2017 to take a broad view of issues affecting the condition of roads, the amount of traffic on them, and the cost of fixing and maintaining them. The task force assessed the condition of the roads according to the University of Wisconsin’s Pavement Surface Evaluation Rating. The PASER system rates pavement condition on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). The task force found that more than half of the township’s roads were in fair condition (4-7), 32% were rated “bad” (1-3), and 13% of the township’s roads were in good condition (8-10). It also determined the township would have to spend more than $9 million a year for 10 years to bring more than 200 local subdivision roads up to PASER level 7 and keep them there. In addition, it would cost about $13 million a year to maintain primary county roads at level 8 or higher. The 1.45 mill levy voters passed in 2018 will raise about $5.5 million dollars a year. Canton also receives road funding from Wayne County and the State of Michigan.

Click HERE for the road task force’s 2018 report and recommendations

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What’s on tap for 2019

Canton leaders have decided which projects it wants to tackle this year. Foster says the board has chosen two contractors to do the work. The township has more information on its website, including a calculator that lets users figure out how much money the millage costs them.

Canton Township, MIchigan


What about my neighborhood roads?

Starting in 2020, Canton Township will introduce a residential road program. Trustees will solicit input from the community on what projects they’d like to have done using funds from the 2018 millage. Homeowners associations will be asked to raise at least some of the funds through a match program. The match will range from 5% to 20% depending on the cost of the project. The document below explains how the program will work.

Click on the audio player to hear Sommer Foster’s conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.

More from WDET:

Canton Tries to Cure Crash-filled Crossroads

Nature to Continue to Disappear in Canton

Residential Road Program Introduction 2019 by WDET 101.9 FM on Scribd

Why did we choose Canton? Canton was selected as a featured area for Crossing the Lines due to its dramatic economic and developmental growth, as well as its rapidly increasing diversity.


  • Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.