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April 18, 2024 11:06 am

Local News

Much Needed Improvements for Michigan’s Transportation from Infrastructure Bill

Credit: iStock

Armand Jackson

Michigan’s transportation infrastructure is known for being outdated and suffering from underinvestment in maintenance and repairs, especially in areas like aviation, public transit, and railroads. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan’s overall infrastructure a D+ grade on its most recent infrastructure report card, giving aviation a C, and a C- to both public transit and railroads, due to major issues within these three categories. 

Funding for Michigan’s 234 airports, including 18 commercial airports that contribute more than $22 billion annually to the state’s economy, has not increased since 2005. Michigan’s 78 public transit agencies struggle with aging bus fleets, and lack of reliability as well as availability for the many residents in the state who use public transportation. Michigan’s railroads need an increase in state funding in order to improve capacity and efficiency of the railroad system services, and build more warning devices at rail crossings.

President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), along with Governor Whitmer’s Michigan Infrastructure Office and the Building Michigan Together Plan, will address these areas and improve Michigan’s overall public infrastructure. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, airports in Michigan will receive approximately $363 million for infrastructure development over the next five years. Michigan should expect to receive $1 billion over the next five years to improve public transportation options across the state. Additionally, the bill provides $2.5 billion in funding for the railroad crossing elimination program in Michigan. 

Governor Whitmer back in January of this year established the Michigan Infrastructure Office in order to maximize the effectiveness of IIJA funds. The Michigan Infrastructure Office is responsible for organizing and executing Governor Whitmer’s plans for infrastructure improvements across the state. It will coordinate with local governments, organize resources, and partner with local officials, federal partners, and outside stakeholders to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure.  

The Governor and state legislation are also moving forward with the Building Michigan Together Plan. This bipartisan plan intends to invest nearly $5 billion of Michigan’s share of federal pandemic relief funding into infrastructure, grow the economy, create jobs, and benefit families in every region of the state. It calls for critical investments of $645 million in Michigan’s transportation infrastructure, including $98 million for airport infrastructure improvement grants and $66 million to improve public transportation.