News and analysis from The Center for Michigan •
©2015 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at

Original article URL:

6 February 2013

* The Capitol news service MIRS is paywall protected, but I wanted to share some basic data it collected on salaries for top political appointees in Michigan.

“Salaries of the department directors as of Jan. 10, 2013:

- John Nixon, Department of Technology, Management and Budget: $250,000

- Mike Flanagan, Department of Education: $189,515

- Andy Dillon, Department of Treasury: $174,204

- Gregory Vadnais, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs: $167,237

- James Haveman, Department of Community Health: $146,450

- Dan Heyns, Department of Corrections: $146,450

- Kriste Kibbey Etue, Michigan State Police $146,450

- Kirk Steudle, Department of Transportation: $146,450

- Dan Wyant, Department of Environmental Quality: $145,000

- Jamie Clover Adams, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: $145,000

- Maura Corrigan, Department of Human Services: $145,000

- Keith Creagh, Department of Natural Resources: $145,000

- Dan Kirchbaum, Department of Civil Rights: $136,000

- Attorney General Bill Schuette: $124,900, *pay rate set by SOCC

- Secretary of State Ruth Johnson: $124,900, *pay rate set by SOCC.”

* Michigan’s debate over road funding is not unusual: “In the search for more transportation money, governors and state lawmakers are largely avoiding one of the most obvious and straightforward funding sources: state gasoline taxes. … Instead, they have proposed selling bonds backed by higher tolls, tapping reserves or surpluses, taxing miles driven instead of fuel bought or hiking income or sales taxes. In fact, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell wants to get rid of the gas tax altogether.”

* The Amtrak passenger rail service carried almost 800,000 ridersin Michigan in 2012, a record. The Michigan Department of Transportation said greater awareness and a more positive view of train travel contributed to the passenger growth. And this is with a limited service that’s been plagued by delays.

Part of the challenge for improvement is, as Amtrak passengers will tell you, operating a passenger rail line on rail routes used and owned by freight companies.

As a 2009 state-sponsored study put it: “Freight railroad ownership of the rail lines with the resulting control of dispatching duties has caused problems with on-time performance of passenger trains. Some of the line segments have heavy freight train volumes that often delay passenger trains, producing persistent on-time performance problems.”

For perspective, look at the map below of rail lines. Now, imagine if the interstate highways were owned not by the public, but by, say, FedEx, with a state motor travel agency leasing space and time on the highways for drivers.

1 comment from a Bridge reader.Add mine!

  1. ervin gunn

    we need railroad service generally like 1900 including passenger service w/car transport available. so many railroad right of ways have been turned over to local control that it will slow down the process. how about serious effort to get it to happen?

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Currently on Bridge

Todd Courser hits Lansing like a cannonball

Will we be better off if Proposal 1 passes? Former treasurer says yes

An Earth Day pitch: When you hang up the phone for good, toss it the right way

Michigan’s roads affect everyone, so a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 makes sense

‘Diplomacy Begins Here’ conference aims to illuminate international relations

What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

Similar accounts in suit over alleged teen prison rapes pose challenge to state's defense

‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of alleged sexual assault

Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

Money Smart Week: Be penny wise, and pound savvier

Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

Let's rebuild Michigan through its greatest asset: its water

Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

Coalition supporting Detroit schools a step in the city’s road back

Chasing fads? Today’s schools are struggling too much for that

For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

A cull is a kill, and it’s an overreaction to deer ‘problem’

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

Those who can, do – and get their hands ‘dirty’ in the process

For one Detroit mom, a complicated path to employment

Detroit by the numbers – the truth about poverty

Michigan should require dental screening for all children entering kindergarten

Where in the world is the Center for Michigan?

After two years, hard to call ACA anything but a success

Bridge’s Academic State Champs emphasizes all the wrong measurements

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Enbridge oil pipes and the Straits of Mackinac: Too risky to ignore

Not bigger government, but better services when Community Health and Human Services merge

Two Michigans gaze across a widening gap

In northern counties, workers and business find each other lacking

Hidden poverty stalks a Pure Michigan setting

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Postcard: When elk is for dinner

Postcard: Luxe life at Bay Harbor reflects changing economy

Postcard: A roof and a bed

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.