This week Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her third State of the State address, unlike any other that Michigan has seen due to the global pandemic. It was the first time that the annual speech was not delivered to a joint House and Senate session at the Capitol Building. Although the logistics were unprecedented, a common theme for these annual speeches over the past decade rang true: a call to adequately fund our roads, bridges and underground infrastructure across the state.
In her speech, Governor Whitmer discussed her bonding proposal that was rolled out a year ago. The $3.5 billion program is spread out over five years. That funding will only go towards MDOT trunkline roads and does not extend to local units of government. Governor Whitmer called upon the legislature to work with her to find additional revenues to local roads. Proposals have been introduced, ironically by Republicans in recent years to allow communities to raise their own gas taxes and registration fees and it is anticipated that those concepts will be debated once again.
In addition to a discussion about increasing revenues for roads, Governor Whitmer called for $500 million in additional funding for underground infrastructure. In late 2020, the Governor and a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced the MI Clean Water Plan that would invest $500 million in federal dollars, state bonding authority, and existing state revenues into a comprehensive water infrastructure package. The state has not invested significant dollars in underground infrastructure for decades and it is estimated that over $800 million is needed annually to maintain the state’s current infrastructure.
MITA staff have already begun discussions with legislative leaders regarding these and other priorities for the industry in the upcoming new legislative cycle. If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, at email@example.com or Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org