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Special Report: Highway Headache: Part 2

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
Special Report: Highway Headache: Part 2 story image
WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's one of the busiest highways in the state, and one many of us travel every day.

The stretch of I-94 from Kalamazoo to Battle Creek is consistently filled with traffic tie-ups, bad accidents, and road closures.

But a plan to fix these frustrating issues may be gaining some traction, if political leaders don't slow it down.

Our I-Team investigation the past few months found there's very littel innovating and imagining these days when it comes to trying to fix a traffic problem spot.

Many of our leaders, it appears, simply feel defeated enough to not even begin to look at expanding our section of road that is in desperate need.

I-94 is the busiest two-lane highway in the entire state.

Incremental work has been done, and some work may be done in the next 15 years to fully expand I-94 from US-131 to Sprinkle Road, but that's it.

The dream of many for decades in West Michigan is to expand I-94 to three lanes in each direction from Kalamazoo to Jackson, but it would be costly--likely more than $1 billion, we found.

"There's so many players that would come into play," said M-DOT spokesman Nick Schirripa. "The stars would have to align to make that happen."

That didn't stop people in Detroit, though, from dreaming for the past decade.

They have a shovel ready project that would cost well more than $1 billion to fix I-94 through the heart of Detroit.

Once the funding is there, the project will begin.

The Detroit fix has been a 10-to-20 year process, so it appears leaders in our area may be 20 years behind to get it done.

There is an idea out there, however, that could speed up the process significantly.

The thought centers around creating a pay express lane, where you could choose to get away from all those trucks by paying a toll.

Senator Mike Nofs says he would sponsor legislation to get it done, if the federal government would sign off on it without Congressional approval.

The belief is that it's likely creating a toll lane might require an act of Congress, which could put the brakes on the idea for good.

Governor Rick Snyder has said in the past that he's not for tolls, but it appears in our one-on-one interview with him on Wednesday, he might be softening his tone.

He knows how difficult it is to raise revenues to get roads fixed, much less expanded.

The Governor and others say that most of I-94 won't be touched, though, until there's some new revenue coming in to fix what we have.

For a list of billion dollar projects around the country, click here.

For average daily traffic maps for Michigan, click here.
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Business News

Last Update on March 04, 2015 18:48 GMT

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Payroll processor ADP says companies added 212,000 jobs last month, a solid gain, though down from 250,000 in the previous month. January's figure was revised up from 213,000.

The figures come just before Friday's government report, which economists forecast will show an increase of 240,000 jobs.

The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

A burst of hiring in the past year has lifted the number of Americans earning paychecks, and a sharp drop in gas prices means those paychecks can buy more goods and services.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. services firms' activity rose at a slightly faster rate in February, powered by hotels, restaurants and wholesalers.

The Institute for Supply Management says that its services index rose to 56.9 in February, up from January's reading of 56.7. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.

The survey suggests further growth in employment and imports, as a strong hiring streak over the past year has bolstered consumer spending.

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Toyota also promoted North American communications chief Julie Hamp to chief communications officer for the entire company. She's Toyota's first female managing officer. And it named Chris Reynolds a managing officer and chief legal officer for the whole company. He's the first African-American to hold the positions. Reynolds was general counsel for U.S. operations.

Company President Akio Toyoda says the diverse team of executives will help Toyota serve customers better around the world.

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The justices on Wednesday ruled 7-2 against CSX Transportation Inc., which had challenged the state's assessment of a 4 percent sales tax whenever the company purchased diesel fuel.

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The newly released transcripts show that officials worried about the precedents being set by providing billions of dollars of government support to the nation's largest banks. They also searched for ways to provide more support to an economy that seemed to be in free-fall at the beginning of the year.

During an emergency call on the morning of Jan. 16, 2009, after the government had announced a $20 billion bailout for Bank of America, then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he was unwilling to allow "the failure of a firm the size of Bank of America."

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LONDON (AP) -- A closely watched barometer of the 19-country eurozone economy shows growth in February running at a seven-month high, the latest in a string of evidence suggesting the region's recovery is gaining momentum.

Financial information company Markit says Wednesday its purchasing managers' index -- a broad gauge of economic activity -- rose to 53.3 points in February from 52.6 the previous month.

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Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, says February was notable as it was the first time since April that all four of the largest eurozone economies -- Germany, France, Italy and Spain -- recorded an expansion in business activity.

The outlook "has brightened for all countries," he says.

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So-called clearing houses ensure financial contracts such as futures are honored, reducing risk for traders.

In its role as financial overseer, the ECB wanted to make clearing houses that mainly process trades denominated in euros to be based in one of the 19 euro states. On Wednesday, the General Court annulled the policy.

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Britain called the decision "a major win."

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The French government said Wednesday it's working closely with Areva to restructure and secure financing, and would "take its responsibility as a shareholder" in future decisions about its direction. French news reported it might merge with utility Electricite de France.

Areva reported Wednesday 1 billion euros in losses on three major nuclear projects in Finland and France, among other losses.

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