Gov. Gretchen Whitmer toured a flooded Detroit freeway by air and on the ground Monday, calling it “a devastating moment” for many Metro Detroit residents.
“We saw there is a lot of standing water,” Whitmer said. “We saw there are people who cleaned out their basements and put the debris on their front lawn because it’s overwhelming.”
Whitmer spoke with reporters Monday on Interstate 94 near the Martin Street overpass, a section of the freeway still closed and flooded with water. The roofs of several submerged vehicles were still visible from the weekend rain.
She urged residents cleaning up to be safe and to document their losses and file claims with local municipalities.
“This is a moment and a need for us to help one another but also for to do the hard work of protecting ourselves going forward,” Whitmer said.
“And that is doing everything we can to address climate change and building resilient infrastructure that will keep us safe and keep our economy going.”
Whitmer said the long-term solution won’t be found in President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan and urged lawmakers to come together.
“Now we are seeing the cost of not fixing it and it would be overly simplistic to say that we should use one time dollars because this is an ongoing problem,” Whitmer said. “Republicans and Democrats have to put aside the traditional corners which they go when anyone talks about investment because investment in infrastructure is investment in our public safety. It’s an investment in our economy.
“We’ve got a duty and a responsibility to continue to move forward and get this right. I am grateful for the partnership on the federal level but we need out state legislature to work to solve this as well.”
Whitmer said it’s not clear yet how long the stretch of I-94 will be closed, as more rain is predicted this week.
“We’ve got to do the due diligence to make sure we clean them up, that we ensure they are safe before we open them up to travel,” she said.
“We are watching the forecast and we are hopeful the worst-case scenario doesn’t play out but we all have to be vigilant.”
This article appeared in the Detroit Free Press. For more, click here.