Audit: Spike a gravel study influenced by trade group

An SUV travels down a section of Lake Montcalm Road near Edmore, Mich., Friday, June 12, 2009, (AP Photo/Joseph Veselanak)

(AP Photo/Joseph Veselanak)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A study on Michigan’s gravel supplies has been declared unreliable after it turned out that the report was heavily influenced by a trade group.

That’s the conclusion from an audit of the $50,000 study, which was paid by taxpayers.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Doug Needham, president of the Michigan Aggregates Association, recommended the consultant who wrote the 2016 report, told the Transportation Department how to price it and predicted the major findings.

The study found a gravel shortage. It has been cited as evidence that local governments should be restricted from limiting gravel mining.

Todd Wyett, who chairs the State Transportation Commission, says the money should be repaid. John Sellek, a spokesman for the Aggregates Association, says that’s “ridiculous.”

He says there’s an urgent need for more aggregates to fix roads.

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