How Biden’s $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill will be spent in Michigan
But the bill Biden announced he would sign is also well below the $ 2.25 trillion he originally asked for. Yet it is the largest investment the country has ever made in climate action, public transport and other priorities.
In a statement, US Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, applauded its passage but added that “this bill alone is not enough to help families across the country.”
Congress is still negotiating a $ 1.75 trillion social spending and climate change reconciliation bill, billed as the Build Back Better Act, which is expected to address some of these loopholes, although this bill also has declined from a $ 3.5 trillion proposal and could even decrease. more to get “yes” votes from moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of Virginia.
By voting no on infrastructure, progressive Tlaib challenged the decision not to pass the Build Back Better law at the same time. Democrats hope to use this separate bill to replace many of the measures that were removed from the infrastructure bill, including big investments in climate preparedness, paid family leave and child care. Passing one without requiring the other to pass, Tlaib said in a statement, “renounces” the influence that progressive members of Congress had to pass both.
“I am concerned that we are missing out on our unique opportunity to invest in the American people,” Tlaib said.
Here’s what Michigan should get in the infrastructure bill:
Roads and bridges
Michigan’s biggest new injection of funding from the bill is for roads and bridges. The bill devotes $ 110 billion to the national cause, of which more than $ 1.5 billion could come to Michigan.
Still, it’s far less than the $ 159 billion in Biden’s initial request.
Michigan is expected to receive $ 563 million to repair or replace bridges, and an additional $ 7.3 billion for roads, according to Whitmer’s office.
More than a quarter of Michigan’s bridges are in poor condition. And about 42 percent of Michigan’s paved roads funded by the Federal Aid Highway program are in poor condition, according to the state’s latest estimates, as are half of the non-federal aid roads.
A 2016 state report commissioned by the government of the day. Rick Snyder in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis identified that more than $ 4 billion a year would be needed to repair the state’s crumbling infrastructure, from roads and bridges to water supply systems and communication.
Translation: While Biden’s infrastructure bill is a big help, the money will only go in part to fix the deplorable state of Michigan’s auto roads.
The bill also provides $ 1 billion nationwide to help repair damage from freeways and other “urban renewal” projects that crossed black neighborhoods like Black Bottom in Detroit in the 1950s, displacing the people who lived there. It is not known how much, if any, of this money could come to Michigan.
Michigan’s water supply, both rural and urban, faces a myriad of challenges. Perhaps the most important of these are the lead service lines in older homes that deliver a product essential to human life to hundreds of thousands of Michigan homes via a poisonous metal pipe, and the “chemicals”. forever ”PFAS which have been found on thousands of sites. across the state.
In total, the infrastructure bill includes $ 55 billion nationwide to remove lead pipes and clean up PFAS. Whitmer’s office said Michigan is expected to receive $ 1.3 billion for water infrastructure, including lead and PFAS.
Michigan has one of the highest per capita rates of lead service lines in the country – up to 500,000 in total. But it has also done far more than any other state to identify the sources of PFAS after the discovery in recent years of severe contamination in places like Oscoda and Parchment.
To date, more than 11,000 PFAS contaminated sites have been identified and the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is frequently added to the list.
In recent months, Governor Whitmer has focused intensely on electrification, announcing at the Mackinac policy conference in September a plan for a Lake Michigan coastal charging network that would run the length of the lake. without feeling the “range anxiety” that accompanies electric vehicles. travel to rural areas.
Part of the plan was to show Michigan was prepared to receive federal funds if and when the infrastructure bill passed.
Once Biden signs the bill, Michigan is expected to receive $ 110 million for charging infrastructure.
The bill would send $ 1 billion over five years for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an existing program that has historically been used to restore habitat, manage invasive species and tackle pollution from industry. and farms.
Beyond this specific Great Lakes credit, the US Army Corps of Engineers is expected to receive $ 1.9 billion for aquatic restoration projects across the country, possibly including the Great Lakes.
Environmentalists hailed the investments as crucial, but warned that much more is needed in Michigan and across the country to address the climate crisis that is already here and will only get worse until humans stop burning fossil fuels.
“Dealing with the climate crisis goes hand in hand with protecting and restoring the Great Lakes,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
“We hope that today’s vote to strengthen our country’s water infrastructure will give momentum to action on climate change. We urge Congress to quickly reach agreement on legislation that addresses the climate crisis and provide the tools and resources communities desperately need to protect themselves. “
Michigan is expected to receive $ 1 billion to improve rail lines and buses, out of a total of $ 39 billion nationally for transit upgrades and $ 66 billion for rail. Biden originally asked for $ 85 billion for public transit and $ 80 billion for Amtrak alone.
Michigan has 73 transit services that carry a total of 89 million passengers per year, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Michigan could receive $ 100 million to expand high-speed Internet access to nearly 400,000 people, Whitmer’s office said. The lack of rural broadband became a high profile issue during the pandemic, when Michigan students transferred to online school. This was almost impossible for many students, including those whose families could not afford to pay for the internet and residents of rural areas where broadband does not reach.
The infrastructure bill money is on top of the now empty coffers in Michigan that have been unprecedented for decades. Michigan is still deciding how to spend the nearly $ 6 billion of the remaining federal COVID-19 stimulus funds, and local governments also have a collective $ 4.4 billion of the stimulus.