July 19th, 2021
A House panel has advanced funding for 121 local projects in Michigan totaling $152 million in earmarked spending, with some measures expected on the House floor for a vote as early as this week.
The selected projects include everything from airport runway extensions to rural broadband expansions, affordable housing additions to water and sewer upgrades.
Others focus on public safety, education or housing, including $2 million for energy efficiency and home repair work for low-income Detroit homeowners, and $1.75 million to demolish hazardous vacant properties in Genesee and Bay counties, including three vacant and abandoned former schools.
There’s also $3 million to replace the Livonia Senior Center, $2 million for technical skills training at Henry Ford College, $2.35 million for electric buses and charging infrastructure in Grand Rapids, $3 million to expand a bicycle and pedestrian trail in Adrian and $200,000 for free community Wi-Fi in Benton Harbor.
Metro Detroit projects that got funding include nearly $4.8 million to widen Beck Road in Novi from Grand River Boulevard to 11 Mile Road; $2 million toward improvements at the Fauver-Martin Club in Highland Park; $654,000 toward restroom renovations at Veterans Park and Hamtramck Stadium; and $480,000 for programming and facilities for at-risk youth in Mount Clemens and Eastpointe.
The House Appropriations Committee approved a series of 12 spending bills that incorporated the projects, sending the last of them to the full House for consideration on Friday.
But the local projects aren’t guaranteed funding even if the measures pass the House. Congressional aides and lawmakers expect the bills to be the basis for negotiations with Senate lawmakers over, for example, a possible omnibus spending bill at year’s end. Thus, it’s far from certain whether any or all of the Michigan projects will make the cut.
“I’m just so proud of the work of our local elected officials in Michigan that I’ve been working alongside to identify these funding needs,” said U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills.
Stevens also highlighted $260,000 in funding for the hiring of two mental health clinicians who will be contracted by the Auburn Hills, Birmingham and Bloomfield Township police departments to help respond to calls where someone is experiencing a mental health issue.