The Michigan Capitol. On the left, the Boji Tower, the tallest structure in the city. | iStockphoto
Following the Nov. 5 passage of President Joe Biden’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, local Michigan leaders are celebrating what the investment will mean for their cities.
“$7.3 billion to Michigan … is huge for us,” said newly re-elected Lansing Mayor Andy Schor during a virtual roundtable hosted by the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Friday.
“It’s going to be transformational for Lansing to make sure people have the ability to drive on our roads, to make sure our bridges can be fixed,” Schor continued. He added that $300 million is needed for fixing and maintaining roads; the state is currently providing $12 million of that and much more is needed.
The infrastructure bill, which Biden is expected to sign Monday, will include the following funding for Michigan: $7.3 billion for road repairs, $563 million for bridge replacement and repairs, $1 billion for public transportation improvements, $1.3 billion for water infrastructure, $100 million for expanding high-speed internet access, and $110 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
It is not yet clear how exactly the funds will be distributed. Schor said he hopes it will go directly to the local level rather than passing through the state’s GOP-led Legislature first.
“We want this as soon as possible, certainly. I’m hopeful that it doesn’t go through the state — as much as I love my governor [Gretchen Whitmer] and our Legislature, they still have $10 billion that is unallocated right now. And we’d like to see this come directly to the locals,” he said.
The state still has about $10 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds that have yet to be appropriated.
Both Schor and Warren Mayor James Fouts praised U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) for helping move the infrastructure deal along.
“Absolutely there’s nothing more important than ensuring all Americans, all people, whether it be in Warren, Lansing or Pontiac, that their water will be safe and we’ll have the money to make sure it’s safe [with the infrastructure deal funds],” Fouts said.
“This is for safe drinking water,” Fouts continued. “This is to do something about the massive floods and all the problems we have. And above all else, this will create jobs and jobs and jobs and more much needed construction to keep our roads and bridges safe.”
The mayors also spoke about channeling some of the funds toward mitigating the effects of climate change in their cities, revitalizing their local communities, expanding broadband internet access, and better funding police and fire services.
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