New budget will provide major investments in infrastructure, schools and higher education, quality of life amenities and more

LANSING, Mich. (June 28, 2023) — Kalamazoo-area legislators — state Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), state Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township) and state Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) — announced today major local investments as a part of the overall Michigan state budget agreement passed by the Legislature.

Among the investments in Southwest Michigan included in the budget are:

  • $20 million to complete the U.S. 131 Interchange Business Loop.
  • $4 million for the Western Michigan University Autism Center of Excellence to expand services for children with severe needs.
  • $3 million for the Michigan Geological Survey housed at Western Michigan University.
  • $2.2 million for Texas Township to address long-term flooding challenges.
  • $1.75 million for the city of Portage to build a new farmers market.
  • $530,000 for Kalamazoo Valley Community College to build a pipeline of careers in renewable energy.
  • $250,000 toward the development of a multi-venue performing arts center in downtown Kalamazoo.
  • $500,000 for the Community Based Crisis Response Pilot Program in Kalamazoo to train behavioral health specialists working with law enforcement.

“As vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have worked hard throughout the budget process to bring back investments to our community,” McCann said. “I am especially proud to help secure funds towards the completion of the U.S. 131 Interchange. This project is something I have been passionate about for decades and will be transformational to our community. I was also excited to prioritize investments in our phenomenal higher educational public institutions in our community, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The Michigan Geological Survey housed at WMU will continue to conduct important research throughout Michigan. KVCC will remain on the cutting edge of renewable energy careers that will be critical to Michigan’s transition to an electrified future.”

“Making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely is a top priority of mine. The 2024 investments in our community reflect that priority and will make a positive impact on all of us,” Rep. Morse said. “The new Portage farmers market investment will increase access to healthy food and provide an opportunity to bring the community together. The funding for the Texas Township flooding project will relieve some of the burden from the extended natural disaster on the residents and Township. Lastly, as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, I was happy to include funding for the Kalamazoo Autism Center at WMU to help increase access to families in need of severe autism services. I am proud to bring these investments home to our community, and I look forward to watching their positive impacts over time,” she said.

“$20 million in funds to reconstruct the U.S. 131 and Business 131 interchange will bring transformational change to our Northside community, keeping truck traffic and emissions out of our neighborhoods and improving our air quality.  I am thrilled that this project, which has been in the planning and development stage for several decades, will finally be funded in our fiscal year 2023-24 budget,” Rep. Rogers said. “In addition, statewide funding for lead service line replacement, more affordable pre-K programs, and the largest investment in education in Michigan’s history, Kalamazoo also stands to benefit from $500,000 in funds from the Community Based Crisis Response Pilot Program to train behavioral health specialists to respond alongside law enforcement officers on calls involving individuals undergoing a behavioral health crisis.”