Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveils the Building Michigan Together plan at Blossom Heath Park on March 28.
MACOMB COUNTY – A $4.7 billion bipartisan spending plan to invest in state infrastructure, grow the economy, create jobs and help families statewide was unveiled at Blossom Heath Park March 28.
“The Building Michigan Together plan makes bold, bipartisan investments in the kitchen table issues that matter most to Michigan families, including clean water, smooth roads, fast internet and beautiful parks,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I’m so proud that the Michigan Legislature and I were able to come together to make this happen.”
The plan includes $2 billion to address critical water infrastructure needs, a $645 million investment in state infrastructure (including $317 million for road and bridge programs), 450 million to improve state and local parks and trails, $250 million to connect more people to reliable networks. Broadband internet and funding for housing improvements in underserved rural and urban areas. It also includes $133 million to bolster the state’s unemployment system and fight fraud, and $46 million to protect public safety funding in municipalities with population losses in the 2020 census.
“This bill will make a real difference in our communities, support tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, and set Michigan’s economy up for decades of success,” Whitmer said. “It’s a testament to what’s possible when we put Michiganders first.”
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said the $72 million pledged to the county will help rehabilitate infrastructure, prevent combined sewer overflows and protect residents from basement flooding. .
“The money will be split between two different interceptor projects that I currently have underway,” she said.
The first is a rehabilitation of the interceptor that collapsed in Sterling Heights in 2016 and serves 600,000 residents in 11 communities. The second is a project at the Martin Retention Basin designed to reduce combined sewer overflows from the main, which serves Roseville and part of St. Clair Shores.
State Budget Director Christopher Harkins said the supplemental plan uses one-time resources for strategic infrastructure investments to improve the lives of residents now and in the future.
The money will also be spent at the Chapaton retention basin in St. Clair Shores to reduce combined sewer overflows and to build a new pump at the station. The station, at the end of Nine Mile Road in St. Clair Shores, currently has three pumps. There hasn’t been a new pump installed since 1968, Miller said.
These are projects that his office worked to design and implement.
“It will help us a bit with the costs and help us make sure we don’t flood the basements of St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe. These are all really big, very expensive projects,” she said.
Although the state allows combined sewer overflows, Miller said that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
“That’s one of the main reasons I ran for this job was to try to do something about this situation. It’s not optimal at all,” she said. said “It’s not like we’re breaking the law, but it’s not the right thing to do.”
Miller said the projects were all items for which she should have sought obligations to pay without state assistance, as well as federal funds from congressional-directed spending announced earlier this month.
“In Macomb County, we obviously have the political will of our residents here to do what we need to do to maintain our water quality. We believe in it and we are ready to pay for it,” she said. “If I didn’t have those funds, I would have to bond and people would have to pay those things in their water and sewer rates.”
She expressed her gratitude to State Representative Pamela Hornberger, Township of R-Chesterfield, and State Senator Michael MacDonald, Township of R-Macomb, for their work securing the county’s funding.
“We did it the old fashioned way here; we advocated with our legislators,” Miller said. “All Macomb County Representatives and Senators voted yes.”
Infrastructure improvements are essential, she said, because they affect residents’ quality of life.
“Water quality is synonymous with quality of life. We recreate in that water … (and) most importantly, is our drinking water supply,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, much of our infrastructure needs have been cut for decades, and now is the time to fix them and try to get ahead of them.
“You’re doing it for the next generation,” Miller said.