LANSING – On Jan. 11, state Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) introduced legislation creating the 21st Century Infrastructure Council to oversee and manage redevelopment of Michigan’s failing infrastructure.
“When we discuss the need to improve infrastructure, we begin by thinking of obvious, tangible examples — we all understand the damage caused by a bad pothole or a bridge in need of repair. What many don’t consider, however, are the serious consequences outdated water and sewer systems will inevitably produce,” explained Green.
House Bill 4016 was introduced in response to recommendations put forward by the 21st Century Infrastructure Committee, commissioned by Governor Rick Snyder, to identify strategic best practices to modernize the state’s transportation, water and sewer, energy, and communications infrastructure. The committee’s report, released in November of 2016, called for a comprehensive needs assessment of state infrastructure, the development of a regional infrastructure pilot program, and the creation of a 21st Century Infrastructure Council. The report also found necessary maintenance and updates to Michigan’s infrastructure could cost up to $4 billion.
“The issue hits close to home for many of us, including me. Just last month, Macomb County residents were again struck by a devastating sink hole caused by a collapsing sewer line,” said Green “The governor and County Executive have both declared a state emergency in the county and we thank them for the steps they’ve taken. In Flint, we’ve witnessed tragedy as a result of neglected infrastructure, when the entire city’s water supply was poisoned. The state’s inability to respond to the Flint water crisis alone shows us how quickly these issues can spiral out of control.
“The people of Michigan can no longer afford to have their elected officials delay these repairs any longer,” said Green. “The 21st Century Infrastructure Council will draw on the knowledge of experts in infrastructure technology, policy, and regional needs to develop a sustainable, cost-effective plan of action. I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop a sustainable plan to solve Michigan’s infrastructure needs. I believe House Bill 4016 is the first step of many to ensure we do all we can to avoid similar, preventable disasters from unfolding across our state.”