Plan includes important accountability measures
State Rep. Ann Bollin today voted for a historic plan to fix roads, protect drinking water, expand broadband, address supply chain issues for farmers, and make other important improvements to state and local infrastructure.
The supplemental spending plan uses one-time funding to tend to aging facilities and infrastructure, spur community and economic development, provide access to safe drinking water, and ramp up technology to meet today’s needs. It also includes an investment to establish potash extraction infrastructure in Michigan that will strengthen and secure the supply of this critical mineral and natural fertilizer for local farmers.
“We’ve seen the problems that crumbling infrastructure has caused in Michigan communities over the last few years,” said Bollin, of Brighton Township. “Dam failures, collapsing sewers, inadequate pump stations, crumbling roads, and water contamination have hurt families and resulted in millions of dollars of damage. This plan will address critical infrastructure needs and prevent future disasters.”
In addition, the plan includes measures to stabilize and improve service at Michigan’s struggling Unemployment Insurance Agency. An additional $100 million investment will help offset fraud and bolster the benefits trust fund, which fell from above $4.5 billion to under $1 billion during the pandemic. The new investment comes in addition to the $150 million deposit approved by the Legislature in January.
The new plan also beefs up resources to fight fraud and improve customer service at the unemployment agency without asking businesses to pay more into the system.
Other highlights of the plan include:
Road and bridge repairs: More than $380 million will assist state and local projects across the state without increasing taxes or taking on debt.
Safe, clean drinking water: A nearly $2 billion investment will help provide safe drinking water and “clean water” grants in Michigan communities – combatting water contamination, establishing filtered drinking water stations in public and private schools and childcare centers, and improving sewer and septic systems.
Technology and energy: A $250 million investment will boost access to the broadband internet needed for work, school and everyday life. A $25 million investment will make low-carbon, lower-cost energy options like natural gas more widely available.
Parks and recreation: A $250 million investment will improve state parks and an additional $200 million will benefit new local parks projects.
Community support and development: Local communities would receive $322 million in COVID relief and $46 million to protect against falling revenue that impacts critical local services.
Accountability: Some of the state’s federal COVID relief funds will be reserved for oversight efforts to ensure the state’s COVD relief and transportation infrastructure funds are spent properly.
Bollin noted the measure also offers a $50 million investment in an infrastructure project to extract potash, one of three key elements in fertilizer, here in Michigan.
“Local farmers have been paying higher prices for fertilizer because the U.S. depends so heavily on other countries for potash,” Bollin said. “We have resources right here in Michigan, and this plan will help tap into them to strengthen our supply and reduce our dependance on countries like Russia.”
The state investment in the Michigan Potash and Salt Company Project will help construct a large-scale facility to harvest American potash and food-grade salt near Evart – home to the only commercial deposit of natural potash in the U.S. Once completed, the project will strengthen and secure the supply of this critical mineral and natural fertilizer for farmers throughout Michigan.
The measures, Senate Bill 565 and House Bill 5525, will soon advance to the governor for her expected signature.
State Rep. Ann Bollin and the Michigan House on Tuesday approved a bipartisan plan to better serve Michigan children by bringing much-needed changes to the state’s foster care and adoption systems.