Michigan lawmakers late Wednesday unveiled and began passing a massive $4.8 billion spending plan, one that will upgrade long-neglected infrastructure including water pipes, dams, roads and parks.
The legislation is the product of months of negotiations between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration over how to spend an unprecedented billions of discretionary pandemic funding that was enacted by Congress and President Joe Biden last year. The governor will sign the bills that legislators plan to approve Thursday, following an initial unanimous vote by the House budget committee Wednesday night.
The measures contain more than $1.7 billion to provide safe, clean water — replacing lead pipes, fixing septic systems and combatting “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, according to a one-page summary provided by House Republicans. There is $300 million for dam safety, including $250 million for repairs in the wake of dam failures that led to Midland-area flooding in 2020.
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The plan has $380 million for road and bridge repairs and pump stations to prevent highway flooding; $250 million to improve state parks and recreations areas; $200 million for local parks; and $250 million to expand broadband access.
Other big-ticket items include an additional $500 million for rent and mortgage assistance, $322 million in COVID-19-related spending, and $140 million to stabilize the unemployment benefits fund and improve the functioning of the state agency that disburses the aid.
Whitmer said the bipartisan supplemental budget agreement will help grow the economy amid “tough times.”
“Today we have proven once again that here in Michigan, we get things done together,” she said in a statement.
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Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Stamas, a Midland Republican, called the investments “transformative.” Rep. Thomas Albert, a Lowell Republican who leads the House Appropriations Committee, said the one-time resources are “an unprecedented opportunities to make monumental improvements to the structural foundation of Michigan communities for decades to come.”