Advance Notice: Briefs

MDOT director makes case for more infrastructure spending in D.C.

By: - July 22, 2021 12:00 pm

MDOT Director Paul Ajegba at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Paul Ajegba was in Washington, D.C., this week to talk to federal officials about the need for more infrastructure spending and to talk up Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan five-year transportation plan.

As the Advance reported, the U.S. Senate this week did not advance the bipartisan infrastructure plan championed by President Joe Biden, but talks are continuing.

“Our federal legislators and officials, as well as our state counterparts and peers, are crucial partners in our efforts to build secure, resilient, and lasting infrastructure in Michigan,” Ajegba said. “It was an honor to meet in person with our federal partners to discuss the shovel-worthy projects across the state that are part of our governor’s ambitious Rebuilding Michigan program. We also discussed how federal infrastructure dollars could support our work.”

The state of Michigan this month submitted applications to the USDOT’s 2021 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.

Ajegba also joined a two-day meeting of the Board of Directors of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO).

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.