Money

Local officials are planning how to spend infrastructure money

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is expecting more than $10 billion from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package passed earlier this year— and local officials are already prioritizing how they will spend their share.

“Certainly roads and bridges continue to be one of the biggest issues here in our city. We know that we have about 300 million dollars in need and yet we only get about 12 million a year so you do the math,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

The infrastructure bill, which totals $1.2 trillion is going towards fixing everything from roads and bridges across the country to improving access to broadband internet and protecting cities against the effects of climate change.

In Lansing, Mayor Schor says flooding is another infrastructure issue that this money will address.

“My first year we saw a massive flood when six or seven areas were underwater,” he said. “We had to actually block off the bridge on Kalamazoo in order to prevent a few hundred houses from going underwater, and we were successful.But there are solutions and then there are Band-Aids, and we were able to effectively use the Band-Aid. But these dollars will provide solutions.”

Actually breaking ground could still be a little ways away, according to State Rep. Jack O’Malley who chairs the Michigan House Transportation Committee. State legislators will have to go through the appropriations process and at the local level municipalities like Lansing could need to apply for the money.

“Like many of the American Rescue Plan dollars there’s a several year window to spend it because when it comes to infrastructure $10 billion to try to spend all in a year or two it would be impossible.,” said O’Malley. “So I think the plan is as soon as we can we’ll move ahead– hopefully judiciously and make sure we spend the money wisely.”

Schor says officials in Lansing will be eager to apply for the funds and plan to be shovel ready to break ground on improvements when the time comes.

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