Michigan’s infrastructure projects to receive a boost from federal spending bill - TAI News
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Traveling along I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) approaching the John C Lodge Freeway (M-10). (Cyclonetracker7586 / Wikimedia Commons)

Michigan brought home hundreds of millions of dollars under the $460 billion federal spending bill signed into law by President Joe Biden this month.

Highlights of money going to Michigan projects include critical funding for necessary infrastructure improvements in local communities, such as water and housing upgrades and road and bridge projects.

Michigan’s infrastructure has been chronically underinvested for years, according to a 2023 report by the Michigan Section of the American Society of Engineers. The organization gave the state a C- for infrastructure quality, meaning the state’s infrastructure is in fair condition but it needs additional investments to sustain progress made over recent years.

Roads are one area that will receive much-needed support through the federal spending bill.

More than $2.2 million is included in the legislation to go toward the Michigan Department of Transportation’s effort to replace a portion of M-30 highway that crosses over the US-10 bridge in Midland, as well as the Lemay Street bridge over I-94 in Detroit.

According to a press release from Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters’ office, the MDOT project will reduce traffic congestion and streamline the transportation of goods. Peter’s office states that the I-94 highway through Detroit alone helps contribute more than $80 billion annually to Michigan’s economy.

“The critical resources included in these bills show just how much we can do for the American people when we work together in a commonsense, bipartisan way,” said Peters, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Michigan also secured funding to address the problem of housing affordability, which is an ongoing issue in Michigan and around the country.

Several areas in Mid-Michigan received a combined $6.7 million for housing projects in Saginaw, Shiawassee and Bay counties, as well as in downtown Flint. The money, requested by Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, will be used to create affordable housing and remove blight in the community.

Water infrastructure received a hefty sum of Michigan’s cut of the spending bill, with $368 million to protect against threats to the Great Lakes under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $257.4 million in construction funding for the Soo Locks replacement in Sault Ste. Marie.

Fenton and Burton in Genesee County are two of the roughly a dozen Michigan communities that received funds to improve their water systems and reduce resident exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic.

“Fenton Township residents have not had access to municipal water and have relied on wells for their drinking water. However, a simple random sample of Township wells by the County showed that nearly 8 of 10 wells tested five times the Federal limit for arsenic,” said Vince Lorraine, Fenton Township Supervisor, in a statement.

The six-bill package that passed Congress covers funding for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. Congress was supposed to pass a funding bill by the end of September 2023 to prevent a government shutdown, but failed to do so amid GOP infighting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Instead, Congress has been forced to pass four stopgap bills to keep the government operating in the meantime.

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, a Republican, was the only member of Michigan’s congressional delegation to vote against the spending package, stating that he wouldn’t vote for government funding until lawmakers address “border security.”

The bill package will partially fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2024. Another six appropriations bills not covered by the first spending plan will be negotiated separately before a March 22 deadline. If Congress doesn’t approve the second spending package, which could also include funding for additional projects in Michigan, the government could face a partial shutdown.

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The Michigan Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.