What’s in the infrastructure bill for Michigan?

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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, timely conversations about the long-awaited infrastructure bill President Biden has been seeking.

Recorded Thursday, Oct. 28, as negotiations continue in Congress, Susan Howard, program director for transportation finance at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, talks about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and what it would fund.

Later, Zachary Rable, a policy analyst in the Michigan Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Bureau of Transportation Planning, joins the podcast to break down what the IIJA would mean for Michigan.

Howard talks about the transportation highlights in the IIJA and why she’s optimistic Congressional members can find agreement on the broader social safety net bill that would clear the way for a separate vote in the House on the infrastructure legislation, adopted with some bipartisan support in the Senate in August.

Among the transportation highlights, the IIJA:

  • Makes the largest federal investment in public transit ever,
  • Makes the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak,
  • Makes the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the building of the interstate highway system, and
  • Makes the largest investment in clean energy transmission and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in history; electrifying thousands of school and transit buses across the country; and creating a new Grid Deployment Authority to build a resilient, clean, 21st century electric grid.

Howard says the investment in EV infrastructure would be significant and presents it as a new frontier, with EV charging dollars going to every state, allowing states to choose how EV infrastructure best fits into their own demographics. She calls it a long-term endeavor.

Later, Rable talks about some specifics in the IIJA for Michigan:

  • It would reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years, providing Michigan and MDOT necessary predictable and sustainable funding for advancing the department's multimodal transportation goals,
  • It would provide $2.4 billion in "new" highway funding for Michigan for Fiscal Years 2022-2026, a $340 million average annual increase, and
  • It would provide $563 million for the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, and Preservation Program, as well as $110 million for the EV Charging Program and $8.7 million for the Ferry Boat Construction Program.

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