LANSING — Fixing Michigan roads and bridges is a major focus of a nearly $70-billion 2022 state budget expected to pass the Legislature and be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week, officials said Tuesday.
And the spending plan includes more than $1 billion to expand child care in Michigan, much of it funded with federal coronavirus relief money.
Lawmakers, who must pass a budget by Oct. 1 or face a partial state government shutdown, released proposed budgets for state agencies and higher education Tuesday afternoon after GOP leaders reached an agreement with the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late last week. The Legislature passed, and Whitmer signed into law, the K-12 school aid budget much earlier, in July.
Though officials described the budget agreement as bipartisan and historic, it leaves them with plenty of more work to do. Assuming Tuesday’s bills are passed this week, as expected, that will leave about $7.5 billion in federal relief money still to be appropriated, said Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the State Budget Office. That money, mostly allocated to Michigan under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue plan, will be appropriated through supplemental spending bills that are still pending, Weiss said.
And there could be still more money coming for Michigan, as Biden continues to try to get a $1-trillion infrastructure bill through Congress.
Spending prop in the 2022 budget includes:
- $108.1 million to make 105,000 more children eligible for child care by increasing income eligibility to 185% of the federal poverty level through 2023, then to 160% of the poverty level thereafter.
- $13 million to waive parent copays for child care through fiscal year 2022.
- $158 million to continue a 30% rate increase for child care providers, with an additional $222 million for a temporary rate increase.
- $36.5 million over 3 years to expand the number of child care spaces for infants and toddlers.
- $800.7 million in stabilization and startup grants for child care providers, including technical assistance and facility improvements.
- $30 million for one-time $1,000 bonuses for child care staff.
- $196 million for local “bridge bundling” to repair or replace nearly 100 crumbling bridges in serious and critical condition. That is on top of $300 million that was included in a supplemental spending bill for 2021 to repair or replace up to 129 local bridges that are in serious disrepair. MDOT says bridge bundling involves combining multiple bridge projects under a single contract to streamline permits and achieve economies of scale.
- $14.3 million to help local governments prepare for climate change and extreme weather, including flooding and coastal erosion.
- $19 million for dam repairs and replacements to mitigate flooding and hazards caused by dam malfunction.
- $100 million for community revitalization and placemaking grants to support economic development in local communities.
- $3 million for the Michigan Infrastructure Council, a state-sponsored group bringing together local utility and infrastructure owners, regional representatives, finance and policy experts, and state department leaders to coordinate infrastructure-related goals.
The crumbling Miller Road bridge that is crucial to the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn would be among the projects funded in the 2022 budget, said Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy. But a figure for total capital spending on roads and bridges in 2022 and details on which other local bridges and dams are targeted for repair were not immediately available.
More:State House OKs $16.7B school aid plan eliminating funding gap for school districts
More:Whitmer budget to include $300M to repair, replace crumbling Michigan bridges
Whitmer said in a news release that funds are also allocated in the budget to improve water infrastructure around the state and to help local communities recover from recent flooding.
“Supporting thousands of good-paying jobs, fixing crumbling roads and bridges, and ensuring everyone’s safety on the road has been one of my top priorities since day one,” Whitmer said.
“More good news for infrastructure is on the horizon as we will continue in this spirit of collaboration and work together to invest the billions in federal dollars we have from the American Rescue Plan and the billions more we are expected to receive from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill. Let’s keep fixing the damn roads together.”
State Budget Director David Massaron said the budget “will help Michigan emerge as an even stronger state and it provides the type of investments that will foster real and lasting improvements to support Michigan’s families and businesses.”
Capital spending on state roads and bridges was $1.6 billion in 2020 and $1.3 billion in 2019, said Jeff Cranson, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. Projected figures for 2021 and 2022 were not immediately available.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.
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