State Rep. Rodney Wakeman today voted for a historic plan to fix roads, protect drinking water, upgrade parks and make other important improvements to state and local infrastructure.
The $4.8 billion plan will tend to aging facilities and infrastructure, spur community and economic development, provide access to safe drinking water, and ramp up technology to help rural communities meet today’s needs.
“Michigan communities have significant infrastructure concerns that need to be addressed before more dams fail and more sewers collapse,” said Wakeman, of Frankenmuth. “These critical needs are addressed in this plan, with money set aside to benefit rural communities like ours.”
Highlights of the plan include:
Road and bridge repairs: More than $380 million will assist state and local projects across the state without increasing taxes or tacking on debt.
Safe, clean drinking water: A nearly $2 billion investment will help provide safe drinking water and “clean water” grants in Michigan communities – combatting water contamination, establishing filtered water fountains in schools, and improving sewer systems. Another $35 million will address failing septic systems in rural communities.
Technology and energy: A $250 million investment will boost access to the broadband internet needed for work, school and everyday life. Rural communities will be able to apply for grants to expand broadband internet to underserved areas.
Dam safety: More than $300 million will provide disaster relief and upgrade aging and obsolete facilities, with significant funding specifically for the Midland and Gladwin county areas where dams failed in May 2020.
Parks and recreation: A $250 million investment will improve state parks and an additional $200 million will benefit new local park and trail projects.
Community support and development: Local communities would receive $322 million in COVID relief and $46 million to protect against falling revenue that impacts critical local services.
Wakeman noted the new plan includes additional measures to stabilize and improve service at Michigan’s struggling Unemployment Insurance Agency. An additional $100 million investment will help offset fraud and bolster the benefits trust fund, which fell from above $4.5 billion to under $1 billion during the pandemic. The new investment comes in addition to the $150 million deposit approved by the Legislature in January.
The plan also beefs up resources to fight fraud and improve customer service at the unemployment agency without asking businesses to pay more into the system.
The measures, Senate Bill 565 and House Bill 5525, will soon advance to the governor for her expected signature.
State Rep. Rodney Wakeman this morning voted for a state budget plan that prioritizes the everyday needs of students, families and communities while leaving room for billions of dollars in potential tax relief to help address inflation.