by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign a $4.8 billion spending plan into law to focus on water, broadband internet, and housing.
“The Building Michigan Together Plan makes bold, bipartisan investments in the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michigan families, including clean water, smooth roads, fast internet, and beautiful parks,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am so proud that the Michigan Legislature and I were able to come together to get this done. This bill will make a real difference in our communities, support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and set up Michigan’s economy for decades of success. It is a testament to what is possible when we put Michiganders first.”
However, she didn’t say when she would sign it. Her office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment.
Last week, The GOP-dominated Legislature struck a deal with Whitmer on the two bills.
Senate Bill 565 and House Bill 5525 include $2 billion for water infrastructure, $382 million in COVID-19 emergency rental assistance, $250 million for broadband, and $316 million for road and bridge funding. A spending breakdown is here. Highlights include:
- $250 million for state parks.
- $200 million for local parks.
- $121 million in homeowners assistance.
- $25 million for the mobility future, the state heavily subsidizing a Corktown tech and electric vehicle corridor.
- $50 million for potash extraction, a plant nutrient used as fertilizer.
- $50 million for clean energy.
“This supplemental uses one-time resources to make long-term strategic investments in the state’s infrastructure to improve the lives of Michiganders today and well into the future,” State Budget Director Christopher Harkins said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to build on this success and working with our legislative partners to enact a budget that will benefit all residents of our great state.”
About $2 billion would revamp Michigan’s water infrastructure. That includes replacing all lead service lines in Benton Harbor, allocating filters at schools, and fighting “forever” chemical contaminants called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
The bill package aims to spend $250 million to repair dams. In May 2020, heavy rain caused breaching of two dams in Gladwin and Midland counties, which caused flooding prompting the evacuation of 11,000 residents and damaged 3,700 homes and businesses. The dam failures is estimated to have cost $200 million in damage.
Other spending includes:
- $317 million for road and bridge programs.
- $66 million to reduce future flooding events by adding backup power generator to all 164 state-owned pumping stations.
- $98 million for airport infrastructure improvement grants.
- $66 million to improve public transportation.
- $133 million to strengthen Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance System and tackle fraud.
- $46 million to protect funding for public safety and first responders in cities, villages and townships with population losses in the 2020 Census.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer” by Office of the Governor, State of Michigan CC BY-SA 3.0 and photo “Michigan Capitol” by
Michigan State Capitol.