Michigan OKs more money for statewide radio system
For the second consecutive year, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has obtained legislative approval to provide $13 million in funds to pay for upgrades to the Michigan Public Safety Communications System, according to a story published yesterday in the Detroit News.
Critics of the action note that the statewide system was supposed to support itself through user fees, but the state has spent $25 million in supplemental money the last two years to maintain the $221 million system. Last year’s $12 million came from the state funds earmarked to pay for 911 upgrades.
In addition, many public-safety agencies decline to use the decade-old mobile-car system, claiming it is outdated, does not support handheld radios and is subject to interference from cell-phone transmissions.
Advocates of the system note that it provides Michigan first responders with interoperability at a reasonable cost—a $25-per-radio activation fee and $200-per-radio annual service fee. There are 16,000 radios on the system, half of which are owned by state agencies, according to the news report.