U.S. Sen. Gary Peters on Bay City waterfront tour last summer.
MI ROADS HIGHLIGHTED: Sen. Peters, MML's Dan Gilmartin Lead Charge in D.C.
State Officials Aim to Convince Congress to Step Up Infrastructure Funding
March 13, 2018
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By: Dave Rogers
Congress got the straight dope about "pothole Michigan" today.
According to the American Society of Engineers, the state is dead last in the condition of infrastructure, Sen. Gary Peters told the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee.
Peters said $4 billion a year is needed indefinitely just to maintain Michigan's current "D+" infrastructure status.
Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin told the subcommittee how ferociously bad Michigan's roads are, also citing potholes, sinkholes that swallow houses and patched bridges (Bay City take note).
Gilmartin spoke on behalf of local governments regarding state and local transportation infrastructure needs. He said the Trump Administration is "passing the buck" to cash-strapped local municipalities, causing rate hikes and taxes to make up the shortfall.
Citing the Flint water crisis as a prime example, Gilmartin said rather than spend $1 million to upgrade the water system, officials were forced to switch to the polluted Flint River as a source, causing a $200 million federal problem.
State and federal governments have inadequately supported infrastructure, he added. For more than a dozen years now Michigan has dis-invested in its local communities more than any other state in the nation. About 80 of the infrastructure support comes from local millages, he said.
A bipartisan effort is needed "on the front end not after something horrible has happened," said Peters.
Gilmartin and a large Michigan contingent, including League Board President Catherine Bostick-Tullius, Lapeer city commissioner; and League Board Vice President Melanie Piana, Ferndale mayor pro tem, are in D.C. this week talking with congressional leaders as part of the National League of Cities annual Congressional City Conference. This year's conference theme is "Rebuild With Us: Cities Strong Together" and much of the focus will be on rebuilding our nation's infrastructure.
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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