Federal Infrastructure Plan Closer to Reality

Several reports over the past few weeks have suggested that Congress and President Biden may actually come to a final passage of an over $1 trillion infrastructure deal. The measure has recently passed the U.S. Senate, and it will be debated in the U.S. House when House members return from summer recess in September. The information coming out of DC has been confusing with a lot of different numbers and figures thrown around. What is clear: if passed, this would be the single largest investment from the federal government for transportation in decades.  

What does this all mean for Michigan’s infrastructure? Some reports have suggested that this would mean $7.8 billion in new investments for road and bridge repairs from the federal government over the next five years. That is simply not true. The entire federal program for Michigan will be approximately $7.8 billion, and it will be about $1.7 billion more, or “new money” for Michigan’s roads and bridges over the next five years compared to the previous five years of distribution from the federal government. Below is a chart of the annual appropriations for Michigan from 2021 through 2026 under the Senate passed version.  













In addition to the annual increase through 2026, a general fund appropriation was also included and Michigan will see an additional $682 million for infrastructure, of which, $562 million will be used to repair and replace bridges in Michigan. Despite all the new investment coming into Michigan, it is still woefully short of the over $2 billion annual investment that has been proven to be needed.

Several billions will also be spent on other types of infrastructure, including underground infrastructure. The bill provides $55 billion in new money for water infrastructure. This represents a doubling of funding compared to recent funding allocations. The money will be distributed to communities in grants and low interest loans to replace lead service lines and upgrade wastewater and stormwater systems.   

While this isn’t exactly the infrastructure bill that MITA or our affiliates would write, it represents a 24 percent increase in the program in the first year and overall a 38 percent increase for surface transportation over the five-year reauthorization. Traditionally, MITA supports user fee increases to pay for our infrastructure; however, there is not a lot of support to increase the federal gas tax in Congress.   

There will be pressure for the U.S. House to pass the Senate passed version of the infrastructure bill. The public overwhelmingly supports increased investment for infrastructure; and, with a bill already supported by the Senate that has support from the President as well, it will be tough for the House to not take up. Earlier in the summer, the House passed a much larger infrastructure bill that included things that many do not consider “traditional infrastructure” including money for child care and drastic climate change measures.  

As complete details come out and the House debates and hopefully passes an infrastructure bill, MITA staff will continue to update the membership. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, at mikenystrom@thinkmita.org, or Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Government Affairs, at lancebinoniemi@thinkmita.org.