LANSING, Michigan — With money to expand broadband connectivity, fix crumbling roads and improve drinking water, the entire state will benefit from much of what’s included in the bipartisan spending plan of $4.8 billion that is now heading to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office.
“Transformer” is how people on both sides of the aisle describe the bill. “We believe this short-term or one-time investment that we can make now will lay the foundation for a truly bright future across Michigan,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said in an interview last week.
In western Michigan, more than one a handful of specifically targeted projects are expected to get funding.
$45 million will be used to fully fund the replacement of lead service lines in the Port of Benton and allow the city to make other improvements to its water infrastructure.
$15 million will go towards remediating PFAS at an “orphan” site near Lake Muskegon.
“Every community I represent along the lake has mentioned the importance of clean water, and this legislation will protect our communities’ water infrastructure for generations to come,” said State Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-North Muskegon).
The plan also includes more than $200 million for the rehabilitation of state and local parks and trails, including in Grand Rapids.
$55 million is earmarked to fund the Grand River Greenway project, a nearly 40-mile-long trail that will connect Grand Rapids to Grand Haven along the Grand River.
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“This means we will rapidly accelerate our vision to reconnect, redevelop and activate our river corridor along the Grand River. I am thrilled to bring these investments home to help realize our decades-long vision for the river, in addition to meeting other immediate housing and infrastructure needs,” said State Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids).
$40 million will be directed to the southern part of Kent County for a project that will widen M-37 between 76th Street and 92n/a.
$1.1 million will be used to demolish the old Deerfield Correctional Institution in Ionia, which has stood vacant for more than a decade. The money will also pay for cleaning up and preparing the area for redevelopment.
“Project M-37 is important to anyone driving to and from Grand Rapids. The Grand River Greenway project is making our area a better place to live and visit. The Deerfield site has the potential to be redeveloped into something special. These are the types of projects that will benefit our children, grandchildren and their families for years to come,” says State Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell)
The plan was passed by both houses on Thursday and is expected to be signed by the governor this week.
“This legislation delivers on so many levels for the people of my district and really the entire state of Michigan who have been so resilient in the face of so much uncertainty and upheaval,” said State Sen. Winnie Brinks (D- Grand Rapids).