Last week, Governor Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Harkins, delivered her 2024 fiscal year budget recommendations to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees. Her proposed $79 billion budget recommends a $478 million increase from last year’s budget for transportation. In total, The Governor’s recommended transportation budget for fiscal year 2024 includes total ongoing funding of $6.2 billion and $363 million of one-time funding ($303 million general fund). The proposed increases are funded through General Fund surplus dollars in the budget as the state coffers sit on roughly $9 billion in leftover Covid relief money from the feds and surplus money from an unexpected increase in revenues from sales tax collections. In total, the recommendation is that the state use $363 million of general fund money for one-time investments. The proposed programs in which the increased dollars would go are listed below.
For Michigan’s roads and bridges, an increase of $324.5 million will support two new items.
• $200 million of one-time general fund for the Michigan Bridge Bundling Initiative, which expands on $196 million previously authorized to replace or rehabilitate structurally deficient bridges across the state. This new funding will fund replacement of approximately 30 additional state and local bridges.
• $124.5 million for debt service related to the Rebuilding Michigan bond program.
• $160 million for rail, marine, and local transit for potential to leverage more money from federal dollars.
• $3 million to help enhance MDOT’s DBE program.
• $20 million for Michigan airports
• $16.1 million for 168 full-time employees at MDOT for mostly design and engineering positions.
• $21.7 million to backfill inflationary construction costs.
The Governor also recommended more money for underground infrastructure construction. These include:
• $280.5 million for water infrastructure projects ($30.5 million from the general fund) to provide loans, grants, and direct funding to local communities for water infrastructure. These projects are supported through the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act and include service line replacements, water treatment facility upgrades, and stormwater management systems.
• $225.8 million for lead service line replacement ($200 million one-time general fund) to remove and replace lead lines in the poorest 10% of Michigan communities.
• $25 million for restoring Michigan’s waterways. (one-time general fund) to provide grants for the removal of dams that are not essential to the containment of invasive species or are not necessary for power generation and community safety.
• $6.6 million for improving permitting processes (general fund) to significantly improve capacity to department permitting divisions to improve application review and reduce permit issuance wait times.
This is just the first step in the budget process for fiscal year 2023 / 2024. The budget is required to be finalized by September 30; however, in recent years the budget has been done by July 1. The state Constitution provides the framework for Michigan’s annual budget process. Key among those provisions are constitutional balanced budget requirements.
• The Governor must submit a balanced budget recommendation to the Legislature.
• The Legislature must approve an enacted budget that is balanced with the estimated revenue available.
• The Governor and Legislature must make adjustments if the budget becomes out of balance during the course of a fiscal year to bring it back into balance.
MITA staff will meet with appropriation members throughout the course of the budget process to advocate for our portion of the budget and to remind lawmakers that this is not a fix to our infrastructure funding problems. We need Michigan’s leaders to finally come together to develop an equitable, long-term, sustainable infrastructure plan that fixes Michigan’s roads for generations to come.
For more information, please email MITA’s Executive Vice President Rob Coppersmith at firstname.lastname@example.org or MITA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Lance Binoniemi at email@example.com., or call the MITA office at 517-347-8336.
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