This week the Governor announced his budget which includes an increase in transportation funding. As a result of higher fuel taxes and registration fees that will take affect on January 1, 2017, the Governor is projecting $533 million in addition revenue for roads, bridges, transit, and aviation across Michigan. Cities and villages will receive approximately $100 million of the new revenue generated.
Unfortunately the Governors is no longer adding additional General Fund money to the transportation budget resulting in a net impact to cities and villages that will be less than $50 million. This increase represents new constitutionally protected revenue that will continue on an annual basis but it falls far short of what is truly needed.
Additionally transit will see bus capital increase by $19 million and local bus operating increase by $12.6 million. Rail will see a $15.8 million increase and aviation and airport improvement programs will receive a $13.5 increase.
The Governor also announced an additional $195 million to combat the ongoing crisis in Flint.
- $30 million will be used to give Flint residents rebates on lead-tainted water they didn’t feel comfortable drinking or using.
- $63 million for treating children with high blood levels expanding preschool programs putting nurses in the schools, abating Flint homes of lead, making epidemiologists available to analyze blood lead levels and paying for in-home behavioral services for children.
- $37 million is going toward making the Flint municipal water safe to drink. That means more water samples, inspections and replacing of filters in schools, studying what needs to be going on with Flint’s infrastructure and staying connected with Detroit until the end of 2016, when the city is scheduled to hook up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
- $15 million will go towards food and nutrition programs for Flint’s children, including a summer meal program, mobile food banks and food inspections.
- $50 million would be set in reserve for any future needs in Flint.
Finally the Governor proposed $165 million in ongoing funding to create the Michigan Infrastructure Fund that will be used to fund statewide infrastructure needs. There are limited details but the Governor is proposing that the investments will be based on a prioritization of needs. Categories for investment could include replacement of known high-risk lead and copper services lines, infrastructure upgrades while repairing roads or other utilities and the development of asset management plans.
John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0303.