Michigan should spend $4 billion more a year on infrastructure, commission finds

Posted at 8:43 AM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 11:05:53-05

A report ordered by Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan must spend $4 billion more annually to upgrade infrastructure that includes roads, water systems and the power grid.

The study released Monday says the state and local governments spend less than the U.S. average and in surrounding states.

Snyder, who appointed the commission in the wake of the Flint water crisis, says Michigan's "infrastructure challenges are serious and wide-ranging" and it must "act with urgency."

The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report includes recommendations for all types of infrastructure systems, including transportation, water and storm water, wastewater treatment and drainage, energy and communications infrastructure.

The commission says as a first step, Michigan should become a "national leader" and create a statewide asset management system.

The 27-member commission released the report that includes more than 100 recommendations including:

Water recommendations

  • Ensuring Public and Environmental Health: Invest in replacement of aging water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure.
  • Water Asset Management: Perform regular assessments and maintenance of Michigan’s drinking water, sewer, stormwater, and dam infrastructure systems.
  • 21st Century Water Infrastructure: Design and build water systems using the best available technologies.
  • Fiscally Sustainable Pricing Models: Adopt policies that require self-sufficient and transparent budgets for water, sewer, and stormwater facilities.
  • Green Infrastructure: Develop integrated and sustainable approaches to manage the quantity and quality of stormwater.
  • Onsite Well and Septic Systems: Revise regulations to provide safe, affordable drinking water and wastewater disposal.

Transportation recommendations

  • Roads/Bridges: Invest in roads and bridges to ensure they are in good or fair condition and our roads, bridges, and culverts are designed to protect public health and strengthen our economy. Michigan’s road conditions and intelligent vehicle technology helps achieve our goal of zero deaths on our roads.
  • Transit, Passenger, and Freight Rail: Meet the needs of both urban and rural communities by providing a robust transit network.
  • Marine Freight: Construct a new Soo lock to eliminate the potential for long-term loss of 11 million jobs nationally and a $1.1 trillion hit to the U.S. economy.
  • Aviation: Complete an assessment of aviation needs across Michigan to ensure our system of airports properly supports Michigan’s future needs.
  • Future Mobility: Maintain our status as a global leader in intelligent vehicle technology and other emerging technologies.
  • Revenue Generation Options: Reexamine existing funding mechanisms and the potential for new funding options to build strong, healthy communities for residents and businesses.

Energy Recommendations

  • Resource Adequacy: Ensure adequate capacity resources are available so that Michigan residents and businesses never experience a massive outage.
  • Cleaner Energy Sources: Meet 30 percent of our electric energy needs from the cleanest sources, such as energy efficiency, renewables, and natural gas.
  • Electric Reliability: Reduce the frequency and duration of electric outages to ensure that customers do not experience significant disruptions in their service.
  • Natural Gas Safety: Accelerate plans to replace at-risk natural gas distribution pipes to guarantee Michigan’s natural gas distribution system is safe and reliable.
  • Information Security: Enable our state’s leaders and appropriate agencies to effectively communicate with infrastructure asset owners about physical and cyber security to more effectively plan for and communicate about potential threats.
  • Business Attraction and Economic Development: Expand opportunities for new businesses and energy-intensive industries to choose Michigan by ensuring access to tailored energy services and competitive energy prices.

Communications Recommendations

  • Making Michigan a Smarter State: Lead in the development, deployment, and adoption of new technologies and the creation of smart environments and communities.
  • Improving Broadband Access and Adoption: Make Michigan a top-five state for broadband access and adoption.
  • Establish the Michigan Consortium on Advanced Networks: Develop and execute a roadmap to enact a digital transformation of Michigan.
  • Securing Michigan’s Digital Infrastructure: Find innovative ways to defend critical information, coordinate access and identity management, and embrace new and emerging technologies.