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Source : Flickr
July 4, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
After a nearly 19-hour workday in the legislature, lawmakers approved Governor Gretchen Whitmer's $75.7 billion budget, which is the highest in state history.
The budget contains $6.1 billion for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for improving local roads, bridges, and airport/transit systems and $130 million for investing in public safety and community policing services.
The funding to MDOT includes a $333 million increase for additional trunkline maintenance, $27 million for a local bridge program, and $135.9 million for capital and operations assistance for state rail programs, bringing the total trunkline capital construction program to little under $1.7 billion. Additionally, it projects a $1.9 billion allocation of transportation funds to local road agencies, including towns, villages, and county road commissions, an increase of $87.6 million over the present year.
The MDOT budget includes $385 million in local federal assistance and spending on building roads and bridges, an increase of $94.4 million from the previous fiscal year.
As per March reports, for the renovation and expansion of bus facilities and rural transit vehicles, Michigan would receive almost $13.6 million in transit funds.
According to officials, the $6.1 million in financing received by the MDOT would be used in purchasing a total of 47 cars, including zero to low-emission vehicles and associated charging infrastructure, for 13 public agencies.
For bus facility renovation and expansion projects for four rural transport providers—the city of Alma, the Benzie Transportation Authority, the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority, and the Thunder Bay Transportation Authority—the agency will also get close to $7.4 million.
According to MDOT spokesman Michael Frezell, the facility project for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority is intended to provide additional funding for a new facility as actual bids came in at more than twice the initial estimate due to skyrocketing construction costs since the pandemic hit.
As Contractor News has reported rising costs for public works projects are becoming a nationwide trend over recent months.
According to statements made by U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded funding to Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo for upgrades to public transportation.
With Grand Rapids obtaining $15,826,466 in federal cash for transportation projects, the two cities will receive more than $20 million.
"Public transportation provides a lifeline for many people to make sure they can get to their jobs, doctor appointments, and grocery stores," said Senator Stabenow. "This funding will make sure that our transportation agencies can continue to provide these vital services."
Due to a consistent lack of investment, Michigan's transportation sector has encountered numerous challenges for years. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a D+ for its subpar infrastructure. The landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Act sought to improve Michigan residents' quality of life by fostering resilience and ensuring safety for everyone, including bikers and pedestrians. Nearly 1,219 bridges and 7,349 km of state roadways are in very poor condition, and Michigan anticipates receiving 7.8 billion dollars in BIL aid over five years to fix those bridges and roadways.
The purchase of new public buses and railcars is one of the potential transportation upgrades. The funds will also support improvements to the vital infrastructure necessary for public transportation and other amenities. Additionally, new climate-friendly technology will be introduced, and the transportation sector's backlog will be cleared.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) will benefit tremendously from the new projects, as prime contractors will be required to utilize and reach out to these small businesses. At Contractor News, we have previously reported how MDOT introduced a new contracting procedure encouraging the usage of trucking companies owned by DBEs.
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