$290 Million for Water Infrastructure a Step in the Right Direction

Earlier this week, the state released the remaining $290 million to rebuild water infrastructure from a 2002 water infrastructure bonding proposal. The bonding proposal granted the state the authority to authorize up to $1 billion in bonds for underground infrastructure. The authorization comes from a bipartisan, voter approved 2002 Great Lakes water quality protection bond. Governor Whitmer announced the release of the money to expand projects under the Michigan Clean Water Plan, which has a backlog of billions of dollars of projects needing funding for construction.

This newly available financing supports critical water infrastructure projects like lead service line removals, rehabilitation, and upgrades to drinking water and wastewater plants, improvements to sewer systems, and much more. The money will be split between the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and will be available to local communities through loans and low interest financing this year.

These significant investments are not enough to meet the needs of Michigan communities. The need from communities across the state is substantial. Earlier in 2023 EGLE provided historic financing and funding opportunities to communities but was still only able to fund $1.7 billion of the over $5 billion in community requests. This funding shortfall will continue in 2024 and 2025, where the department has received over $3.5 billion in project requests from communities but expects to have less than $720 million available after exhausting significant one-time federal resources. Most of the state’s water systems are over 50 years old, and a significant portion are approaching 100 years of service life. Recent reports have highlighted that Michigan has an annual gap of between $860 million to $1.1 billion in water infrastructure needs due to decades of deferred maintenance.

While this is good news for the underground contracting community, it is woefully short of a long-term, sustainable funding solution to our infrastructure. We applaud the Governor for her continued leadership on investing in Michigan’s infrastructure and look forward to working with Michigan’s leaders on finding that long-term solution.

MITA members can be an integral part of our success. Getting politically involved can go a long way in getting support from legislators. Donating to the MITA PAC and reaching out to your individual elected officials can help us educate policymakers on the need for additional investments in our state’s infrastructure. Please visit the PAC Donation Link for more information on our Long-Term Sustainable Funding Campaign and how you can get involved.

Please also encourage your employees to join our Legislative Outreach campaign efforts to help secure Long-Term, Sustainable, and Equitable infrastructure funding by clicking here and completing a simple form that will match you with your State Representative and State Senator and send them a message encouraging them to act on this crisis. It’s a straightforward process that will only take a few seconds to complete.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rob Coppersmith, Executive Vice President, at robcoppersmith@thinkmita.org or Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Government Affairs, at lancebinoniemi@thinkmita.org.