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Crumbling infrastructure like this is far too common in Michigan.

50-YEAR VISION: Michigan Infrastructure a $4 Billion/Year Issue in Election

June 3, 2018       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Hey, Michigan legislators and candidates for governor! Isn't it time to get your act together regarding roads and other infrastructure.

Michigan's 21st Century Infrastructure Commission has posted a 50-year vision for improving the state's infrastructure system and enhancing the quality of life for all Michiganders.

A 2016 report by the commission states: "A robust, reliable, and sustainably funded infrastructure system allows for healthy communities, long-term economic prosperity, and more and better jobs--providing a solid foundation for our state's future.

The Michigan section of the American Society of Civil Engineers in March released its latest evaluation of Michigan's infrastructure, giving it a D+ grade... Not that our cash-strapped state had a sterling past. Michigan earned a D on its last such report card, in 2009, and ranked among the worst in the nation.

Michigan's infrastructure is aging, and maintenance has been deferred for decades, leaving us in a state of disrepair. Failing infrastructure interrupts daily life, slows commerce, jeopardizes public health, pollutes the environment, and damages the quality of life. This is evidenced by the condition of our current system:

The state needs to come up with at least $4 billion more each year for decades for the upkeep of roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and communications infrastructure. That's the conclusion of the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, a nonpartisan expert panel appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in the wake of the Flint Water Crisis.

--39 percent of roads are in poor condition (TAMC 2015);

--27 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete (MiBRIDGE 2016);

--Water contamination in the city of Flint threatens the health and safety of its residents;

--Since 2008, an average of 5.7 billion gallons of untreated sewage flowed into Michigan waterways (MDEQ October 2016 a.);

--4 rivers that drain 84 percent of Michigan's Lower Peninsula tested positive for human sewage (Verhougstraete et al. 2014);

--Nearly 25 percent of beaches experienced closures in 2015 (MDEQ May 2016);

--Approximately 130,000 (10 percent) of the state's 1.3 million septic systems are likely experiencing operational problems (Creagh 2016);

--Property damage from flooding is increasing (Saunders 2014);

--Approximately 12 percent of the state's households lack access to advanced broadband service (Connect Michigan 2015);

--Planned power plant retirements in the Upper Peninsula have posed challenges to balancing reliability and affordability.

This report is the first of its kind in the nation to offer comprehensive recommendations across asset types: water, transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure. It provides a current assessment of Michigan's infrastructure systems, a vision for the state's future, and how we can bridge the gap between those two things.

The Commission, composed of industry experts, educators, business leaders, and government officials from across the state, came together to produce a set of implementable recommendations that prioritize the health and safety of Michigan's residents.

"Months of research, discussions with the public, and input from outside experts have allowed us to present a plan that we are confident will improve the quality of life for all Michiganders," states commission chair S. Evan Weiner.



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Dave Rogers

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 carraroe@aol.com)

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