LANSING, Mich., June 29, 2023 — Through the passage of House Bill 4437, state Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) is bringing home state funding to support a number of projects that have been priorities among her constituents in Michigan’s 103rd House District in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Benzie counties. These include:
- $15 million for the Freshwater Innovation Center in Elmwood Township, on West Bay, to bring hundreds of good-paying jobs, support our region’s higher education, environmental protection, and economic development goals.
- $2.2 million for a new emergency communications tower in Benzie County to improve emergency responsiveness and services.
- $2 million for lead water line replacement in Traverse City.
- $1.8 million for a new fire truck and ladder in Traverse City, which will also serve mutual aid public safety needs across the region.
- $800,000 for the Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission to support local child care initiatives including tuition assistance and startup costs for childcare providers; this will directly promote affordability, quality, and increased childcare access in Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties.
- $300,000 for Housing North’s Housing Ready program that assists local municipalities and organizations as they pursue planning and zoning changes and funding opportunities for affordable housing initiatives across the 103rd District.
- $200,500 to replace two restroom facilities along Traverse City’s bayfront, which will serve the TART Trail, west end beach, and volleyball courts.
“We received numerous proposals on a wide range of issues and projects, and while all were worthy, my priority is to advocate for expenditures that focus on critical needs and serve as much of the region as possible,” said Coffia. “My efforts were informed directly from conversations with the people of the 103rd through knocking thousands of doors last year, and from my time listening to constituents for four years as a county commissioner – you told me we needed more housing, childcare, infrastructure, public safety, economic development and more, and I have worked hard to be responsive to those needs in this budget process.”
HB 4437 also makes a number of crucial investments in statewide priorities such as public health and safety, environmental cleanup and protection, roads and infrastructure, economic development, workforce support, mental health, and more.
“I was proud to work across the aisle to prioritize northern Michigan in budget negotiations with our region’s state senator, Sen. John Damoose,” said Coffia. “I want to publicly thank Sen. Damoose for his partnership in bringing home $15 million for the Freshwater Innovation Center project and I am proud that we stood together in casting a bipartisan YES vote for this collaborative and transformational state budget.”
Additionally, Senate Bill 173 invests in Michigan’s education infrastructure in a number of ways, such as raising per-pupil funding, providing additional special education support, and incorporating Coffia’s request for more equitable rural school transportation funding. The latter initiative will receive a $125 million appropriation to offset the higher costs associated with busing students to school in rural communities, something that schools have been urging for decades.