State Rep. Daire Rendon today highlighted key elements within an advancing infrastructure plan that will make northern Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family.
A combination of federal and state resources will tend to aging facilities and infrastructure, fix roads and bridges, provide access to safe drinking water, spur community and economic development, ramp up technology to meet today’s needs, and more – without tacking on debt for future generations.
“This comprehensive plan will help meet the needs of people across northern Michigan,” said Rendon, of Lake City. “People in our communities want good roads, high-speed internet that can help their business grow and their children learn, access to safe water and other critical components of everyday life. It was important to get this done for them and deliver resources for people to thrive across our area.”
Highlights of Senate Bill 565 include:
A commitment to providing needed technology: A $250 million investment will help provide and boost access to the broadband internet needed for work, school and everyday life. Many across rural areas in northern Michigan did not have reliable, high-speed internet access during the height of COVID-19 and shutdown orders in response. This led local businesses to struggle to do more business online and made remote learning for kids more difficult compared to areas of the state with better access.
Safe, clean drinking water: A nearly $2 billion investment will help provide safe drinking water and “clean water” grants in Michigan communities. The funding will also support wastewater infrastructure such as sewer systems, drinking water infrastructure, the replacement of lead service lines and assistance to disadvantaged communities for drinking water infrastructure projects, along with combatting PFAS establishing “healthy hydration” centers in schools. The grants have helped alleviate administrative burden for communities in northern Michigan who are looking to green light improvements or perform basic upkeep for residents.
Homeowner assistance: Over $120 million in federal funding will protect housing for individuals and families struggling to maintain it. The state would be required to collaborate with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to distribute funding to help prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, utility or internet service loss or homeowner displacement because of financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020. A total of $50 million will be deposited into a fund used to expand housing options for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the state works to help people in the face of uncertain times and rising costs.
Road and bridge repairs: More than $380 million will assist state and local projects across the state, including in northern Michigan. Additional resources will support airports and other transportation projects.
Community support and development: Local communities across northern Michigan will benefit from a total of $322 million in COVID relief and $46 million to protect against falling revenue that impacts critical local services.
Parks and recreation: A total of $250 million will improve state parks and an additional $200 million will benefit new projects in local parks. The Northern Michigan Tourism and Sports Fund would receive $20 million for facility upgrades, sports-related tourism initiatives and recreation projects across the region.
The plan will soon advance to the governor for consideration.
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