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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 October 22, 2014 07:28 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pace of corporate earnings reports eases today.

Boeing will have its numbers out before the market opens this morning, while AT&T is scheduled to release earnings after the market closes.

This morning, the Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index for September. There's been little sign of inflation in recent months. Prices actually dropped two-tenths of a percent in August, with gasoline, airline tickets and clothing prices all falling. It was the first decline since a similar drop in April or 2013.

APEC-FINANCE MINISTERS

BEIJING (AP) -- Asia Pacific finance ministers are meeting today in Beijing to consider coordinated responses amid concerns over a slowdown in the regional economy highlighted by lower Chinese growth figures.

Opening the meeting of 21 ministers from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said recovery from the global economic downturn had been tepid.

But he said China was on track to meet its loose goal of 7.5 percent growth for the year, with inflation stable and the economy set to produce more than 10 million new jobs.

Meeting participants, including those from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, will discuss the regional economic outlook and discuss possible coordinated action to respond. An APEC news release said ensuring financing for infrastructure was among the issues to be discussed.

OBIT-NELSON BUNKER HUNT

DALLAS (AP) -- Nelson Bunker Hunt, a Texas oilman who once tried to corner the silver market with one of his brothers only to see the move end in financial disaster, has died. He was 88.

His brother, W. Herbert Hunt, says Nelson died Tuesday at a Dallas assisted-living center after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Hunt was among the world's wealthiest men. His father was legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, who left behind a multibillion-dollar fortune and Placid Oil Co., once one of the biggest independent oil companies.

But a huge, soured bet on the silver market by Hunt and his brother, Herbert, led to legal problems and bankruptcy after the price of silver collapsed.

The brothers agreed to lifetime bans from trading in commodities futures and a $10 million penalty.

Nelson Bunker Hunt filed for bankruptcy in 1988, and much of his remaining fortune was liquidated to pay creditors and the IRS.

A funeral is scheduled Friday.

EARNS-YAHOO

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) -- A huge windfall from Alibaba's recent IPO has sent Yahoo's earnings soaring.

The Internet company earned $6.8 billion in the third quarter, or $6.70 per share. That compares with income of $297 million, or 28 cents per share, last year.

While Alibaba accounted for most of the difference, Yahoo's revenue also rose slightly, after posting quarterly declines for most of the past five years.

Yahoo's third-quarter revenue totaled $1.15 billion, up 1 percent increase from last year. The uptick included more than $200 million in revenue from mobile devices. That represented 17 percent of Yahoo's total revenue for the three months that ended in September, an indication that CEO Marissa Mayer's emphasis on designing sleeker applications for smartphones and tablets is starting to pay off.

EARNS-DISCOVER FINANCIAL

RIVERWOODS, Ill. (AP) -- Discover Financial Services says its third-quarter net income increased nearly 9 percent to beat market expectations.

The credit card issuer and lender's gains were made on increased credit card spending and overall lending.

Discover says its net income after preferred dividends rose to $630 million, or $1.37 per share. That compares with $579 million, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier. Revenue net of interest expense rose to $2.19 billion from $2.06 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.34 per share on revenue of $2.2 billion.

Shares of the Riverwoods, Illinois-based company ended regular trading up $1.68 to $64.38 and added 13 cents in extended trading following the report.

INSURER-EBOLA

UNDATED (AP) -- Global property and casualty insurer Ace Ltd. says it may exclude Ebola coverage from some of its general liability policies.

The Swiss company says it's making the decision on a "case by case" basis for new and renewal policies for U.S.-based companies and organizations that travel or have operations outside the U.S.

Ace says it's evaluating the risk for clients that might be present in select African countries with higher exposure to the Ebola virus.

While Ace may be the first to disclose such a move, Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, says it is standard practice for insurers to regularly reevaluate the risk to their policies.

AMGEN-THIRD POINT

UNDATED (AP) -- A hedge fund run by a famed investor says it has taken a large stake in Amgen and now wants the biotech drugmaker to consider splitting up into two.

In a letter to investors, Third Point, a hedge fund run by Daniel Loeb, says it has recently increased its stake by an unspecified amount, making it one of the drugmaker's top shareholders. According to FactSet, Third Point already owned about 450,000 Amgen shares, a stake worth roughly $64.8 million.

In response, Amgen says its board and management are continually assessing the company's business.

JAPAN-TRADE

Japan's exports up in September; deficit persists

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's trade deficit edged higher in September though exports rose more than expected as the yen weakened to a near six-year low.

Japan's Finance Ministry says exports jumped 6.9 percent from a year earlier in September to 6.38 trillion yen ($59.6 billion) while imports rose 6.2 percent to 7.34 trillion yen ($68.6 billion). That left a deficit of 958.3 billion yen ($8.96 billion), compared to a shortfall of 943.2 billion yen a year earlier.

Japan's currency dropped to nearly 110 yen to the U.S. dollar in September, potentially helping to make Japanese products cheaper abroad. Today, it was trading near 107 yen to the dollar.

Economists expect the U.S. economic recovery to give Japan's exports a long-awaited boost -- despite a weaker yen, demand had remained weak and the trade deficit has remained a drag on growth, thanks partly to imports of oil and gas to compensate for the country's loss of generating capacity after reactors were idled following the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

DETROIT BANKRUPTCY-SCRAPPED METAL

DETROIT (AP) -- The city of Detroit plans to sell 13 million pounds of copper wire from its public lighting operation.

Financial consultant Gaurav Malhotra testified Tuesday in Detroit's bankruptcy trial that the city is budgeting for $25 million over six years from such a sale, but the scrapped metal could bring in about $40 million.

Detroit is phasing its electricity service over to DTE Energy Co.

Thieves have targeted below-ground and overhead wires, which they sell to scrap metal operations. They also have contributed to widespread blight in Detroit by stealing wire, copper pipes, fixtures, air conditioners and anything else of value from vacant houses.

Federal Judge Steven Rhodes has said he expects to make a ruling in early November on the city's plan to get out of bankruptcy.

SPORTS BETTING

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The four major U.S. pro sports leagues and the NCAA have made another court filing in their efforts to stop New Jersey from allowing legalized sports betting.

The order to show cause was filed Tuesday in federal court in Trenton. The NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA want a judge to temporarily prevent New Jersey's casinos and racetracks from taking sports wagers.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Friday signed a law that effectively repeals the state's ban on sports wagering. Monmouth Park racetrack says it plans to accept bets starting Sunday.

A federal judge is expected to rule this week.

The two sides have been fighting in court since 2012, when Christie signed a law authorizing sports betting. Only Nevada offers single-game betting, and three other states are allowed to sell sports parlay pools.

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