Michigan Chamber Exec Says Scarcity of State & Federal Infrastructure Funding Stalls Long-term Improvements

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Reports indicate Michigan continues to enjoy a slow and steady economic rebound. However, the state is still shouldering a huge weight: a deteriorating transportation network that elected state leaders cannot agree on how to fund and revive.

As the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition taps geographic areas throughout the nation to learn why transportation infrastructure is a mounting concern, Michigan Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Richard Studley spoke, in this “ATM Podcast,” about the importance of public-policy advocacy and bipartisanship.

Michiganders are not alone in trying to figure out how to pay for modernizing their state’s transportation complex. From decaying timber bridges in Mississippi and Kentucky roads in need of urgent repairs, to cities needing public-transit investment, poor infrastructure has become a nagging reminder of what hangs in the balance for America.

The problem is pretty daunting if you consider there are millions of miles of roads in the United States and that “constructing a two-lane, undivided road in a rural locale will set you back somewhere between $2 and $3 million per mile — [and] in urban areas, that number jumps to between $3 and $5 million,” according to a 2016 assessment by the company Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.

In 2018, the White House released a Budget Infrastructure Initiative Fact Sheet that read, “The President has consistently emphasized that the Nation’s infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and modernized to create jobs, maintain America’s economic competitiveness, and connect communities and people to more opportunities.”¹

But there has not been a new infrastructure investment package approved in Washington, D.C., by the Trump Administration or Congress.

This leaves local and state officials in Michigan facing a multi-pronged issue — a lack of state and federal funding and a lost opportunity to help turn Michigan’s roads from some of the worst in the nation to some of the best.

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