Build Strong Communities
Our state is only as strong as its communities. Building connected, empowered, healthy, and diverse communities is challenging, but Michigan must invest in safe and reliable infrastructure that can bring people together and leverage the wealth of community assets across the state.
Currently the state falls near the bottom of most infrastructure rankings, including road and bridge conditions. Recent state projections show that without significant and consistent investment in these areas, the state’s infrastructure will not only continue to deteriorate, but will decay at an accelerating rate. The time is now for the state to identify and invest in a sustainable strategy for improving and maintaining the state’s critical infrastructure.
Whether it is building roads and bridges, ensuring every resident has access to clean water, or expanding broadband, Michigan must adequately and effectively invest in the infrastructure strong families, communities, and businesses are built on. While focusing on connecting and strengthening its communities, the state should also recognize, leverage, and protect the distinct assets that make them unique. If we make these investments, the benefits will accrue both in the short term and for generations to come. But if we continue to fall behind, the state will have severely limited its economic growth and squandered an opportunity to once again lead the nation in infrastructure development.
- Prioritize infrastructure investments based on economic, health, and safety risks, with transportation and water systems given highest priority:
- Maintain a statewide non-partisan, multi-infrastructure council composed of professional subject-matter experts to recommend strategic prioritization of investments, maximize capture of federal dollars, facilitate public-private partnerships, oversee a coordinated asset management system, and possibly coordinate projects of state significance.
- Reward regional and cross-functional coordination and resultant efficiencies.
- Maintain contractor warranties on work.
- Support federal investments in infrastructure, consistent with the principles outlined in this section.
- Provide sufficient funding to ensure at least “good” and—ideally—”best” quality infrastructure conditions:
- Increase revenues from users of the infrastructure—which means all of us—to close Michigan’s $4 billion annual investment gap. General purpose taxes (e.g., sales and income taxes) that fund the balance of state government should not be utilized.
- Ensure funding is sustainable and dedicated.
- Design user fees to reflect the true cost of service, including the replacement or rehabilitation of aging infrastructure.
- Consider a renewable bond program and/or regional assessment to fund one-time or recurring needs that cannot be reasonably addressed through user-based funding. However, the revenue source should not adversely impact other critical priorities that help create jobs, such as job training, higher education, and economic development.
- Consider alternative financing methods, such as public-private partnerships.
- Improve electric grid reliability and reduce power outages.
- Promote expanded availability of broadband to underserved rural and urban areas.
- Develop strategies that promote the development of affordable housing and enable workers to have access to available jobs.
- Develop and implement strategies for sustainably protecting and managing the Great Lakes for future generations.
- Empower regions. Allow regions to fund regional assets by referendum without state pre-authorization, such as transit systems, parks and cultural amenities.