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Legislature approves $4.8B infrastructure plan

A $4.8 billion supplemental spending plan was approved Thursday by Michigan lawmakers.

The plan includes more than $2.1 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure — including by replacing lead pipes — and the remediation of PFAS, also known as so-called “forever chemicals.”

There is also $250 million to add high-speed internet to rural and other areas without access, which was cheered by State Rep. Bob Bezotte (R-Marion Twp.)

“I am happy to help secure funds for rural broadband expansion in Michigan,” said Bezotte. “This measure along with other mechanisms of the plan will greatly benefit our state for years to come.”

Legislators also OK’d a $50 million state subsidy to Michigan Potash and Salt Company, which is working to open a mine near Evart, home to the only commercial deposit of natural potash in the U.S. State Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton Twp.) noted that potash is one of three key elements in fertilizer, here in Michigan.

“Local farmers have been paying higher prices for fertilizer because the U.S. depends so heavily on other countries for potash,” Bollin said. “We have resources right here in Michigan, and this plan will help tap into them to strengthen our supply and reduce our dependance on countries like Russia.”

Other highlights of the plan include:

More than $380 million to assist state and local road projects across the state.

A $250 million investment to improve state parks and an additional $200 million will benefit new local parks projects.

Local communities would receive $322 million in COVID relief and $46 million to protect against falling revenue that impacts critical local services.

House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) said the federal dollars that make the investment possible will benefit Michigan families for many years, “from their ability to trust that their first drink of water in the morning is free from lead and PFAS contamination to the safety of their families on our roadways.”

She added that they will continue to push GOP leaders to spend all available federal dollars because projects like those funded Thursday “make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and our communities.”

Michigan has $2.8 billion remaining in federal discretionary aid that was enacted a year ago.

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