Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses U.S. Senate on Michigan's infrastructure needs

Posted at 5:46 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:21:49-05

(WXYZ & ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will discuss the state's infrastructure plan during a U.S. Senate hearing.

The governor's office says Gov. Whitmer will join the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works hearing on Wednesday. She is expected to discuss the state’s infrastructure needs during the virtual meeting.

READ HERE: Gov. Whitmer's remarks to U.S. Senate on state of Michigan's infrastructure

Gov. Whitmer recently called for $300 million in her 2021 budget plan to repair or replace about 120 local bridges, a year after she announced $3.5 billion in borrowing to rebuild deteriorating state-owned highways and bridges over five years.

The governor is expected to promote her "Rebuilding Michigan" plan which includes a heavy focus on local bridges, like the Miller Rotunda Bridge in Dearborn, which is relying on 600 temporary supports and in bad need of repairs.

“The $3.5 billion bonding plan has already replaced one segment of the important freeway on I-496 in Lansing and will take care of several more over the next few years," MDOT Communications Director Jeff Cranson said.

That money will also go toward improvements to I-94 from 8 Mile to 11 Mile in Macomb County, and in Oakland County, parts of I-696, just some of the 49 projects in the state.

Cranson said while the pandemic slowed efforts to start, less traffic overall has actually allowed contractors to come out ahead of schedule in some cases.

“It’s by no means the total solution. The governor is still hopeful that the legislature will come back with a longer-term sustainable plan for funding our roads and bridges," he said.

The governor's efforts to "fix the damn roads," her 2018 campaign promise, will be highlighted during the hearing. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland is also set to speak.

President Biden's administration has promised millions in green infrastructure jobs and a carbon-free power grid in 2035.