Supplemental deal a historic investment in Michigan’s nature, water & communities
A bipartisan deal would lead to less flooding, cleaner drinking water, better state parks and affordable, energy efficient homes.
The supplemental budget deal, which passed out of the House Appropriations committee late Wednesday night, would invest over $2.5 billion into environmental projects. Much of the money stems from extra state and federal COVID dollars.
The supplemental reflects the environmental priorities of Gov. Whitmer, who previously proposed $2.2 billion in environmental initiatives. The final deal builds off of two proposals put forward by Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Sen. Jon Bumstead, which provided $4.3 billion in water and parks funding.
As with each budget and supplemental cycle, the Michigan Environmental Council has advocated in support of significant investment in our water, environment and communities. Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer, said decades of disinvestment in water and our nature have culminated in Wednesday's bipartisan initiative.
"Our beautiful Great Lakes and state parks are what make Michigan so unique, and Michiganders overwhelmingly support increasing our investments in protecting our water and natural resources,” she said. "Gov. Whitmer and Republican leadership’s proposed supplemental bill recognizes the benefit that would accrue to all Michiganders from putting billions in federal and state dollars to work protecting our water and environment. It addresses the kitchen-table issues Michiganders deal with now—like lead poisoning and PFAS—and it invests in protections for the future—like ensuring our infrastructure is resilient to worsening climate change-induced storms and flooding."
Overwhelmingly, the largest area of investment in the budget deal was water. With over $1.7 billion allocated for wastewater and clean drinking water initiatives, Water Policy Director Megan Tinsley praised the effort as a moment where the needs of Michigan residents are put first.
“Water issues often see strong bipartisan support, and we couldn’t be more pleased that the spending plan takes advantage of this,” said Tinsley. “These are the investments that Michiganders need and deserve. The budget surplus that led to this funding is unprecedented, but the challenges we face each day with our aging water infrastructure and clean water access are not. It’s encouraging to see our lawmakers recognize this, and to watch these dollars get put to work on projects that will make a lasting impact on peoples’ lives.”
The full appropriations summary can be viewed here.
Investments by the numbers
While communities would not receive an equal investment of the budget proposal's funds, hypotheticals have been given to put the numbers into perspective.
Water management: $712 million
Hypothetical equivalent: $400,000 per community
Includes funding for wastewater, stormwater and septic improvements and water pollution prevention. This will reduce flooding and make water cleaner.
Clean drinking water: Over $ 1 billion
Hypothetical equivalent: $564,000 per community
Includes funding for lead service line replacements, pollution prevention and groundwater mapping. Also includes specific investments to reduce lead poisoning in Benton Harbor, reduce PFAS pollution in Oscoda.
Healthy housing: $150 million
Hypothetical equivalent: $84,600 per community
Includes funding for housing, community development and clean energy upgrades for residents. This will make homes more affordable while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Parks: $450 million
Hypothetical equivalent: $254,000 per community
Includes funding to eliminate the state park maintenance backlog and to expand local parks. This will protect more Michigan nature and ensure it's found in more communities.
Greener transportation: $158 million
Hypothetical equivalent: $89,000 per community
Includes funding for public transit, electric vehicles and non-vehicular transportation infrastructure. This will help residents get to where they need and lower greenhouse gas emissions.