Expert-led councils will help shape Michigan’s infrastructure future

A trio of recently enacted bills in Michigan aims to help legislators take a longer, systematic view of how to meet the state’s infrastructure needs. According to Gov. Rick Snyder, his state is the first in the nation to implement this type of coordinated effort to manage drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, transportation and private utilities.

HB 5335, for example, creates a Michigan Infrastructure Council — policy experts who will develop a 30-year, overarching infrastructure strategy for the state. The council also will create an asset-management database to assess Michigan’s infrastructure, investment needs and priority areas. Every year, the council will make funding recommendations to the Legislature and governor. The two other bills create separate councils focused on the state’s water (HB 5406) and transportation (HB 5408) infrastructure needs.

According to National Association of State Budget Officers data, states as a whole have been investing more in capital projects. The 5.7 percent increase in capital spending between fiscal years 2016 and 2017 marked the largest jump in a decade. This trend is largely the result of more outlays for improvements to the transportation infrastructure, which accounts for close to 66 percent of state capital spending.
Stateline Midwest: September 20182.42 MB