Since becoming governor, my number one priority has been to solve the infrastructure crisis Michigan faces. Year after year, Michigan has had the worst roads in the nation. Our roads are dangerous, and the longer we wait to fix them, the more expensive it gets.
Last year, I tried to work in a bipartisan way with Republicans in the Legislature to address the problem, but they neither embraced my solution, nor countered it with a serious alternative of their own.
So now, I’m rolling up my sleeves to get to work, because we can’t afford to wait.
During my State of the State address on Wednesday, I announced my Rebuilding Michigan road plan, a fiscally responsible program that will fund 122 major projects, by adding new projects and expanding the scope of work already underway on existing projects — so we can rebuild the roads the right way, with the right materials and mix so they stay fixed. This will nearly double the amount available to fix roads over the next five years and save time, save money, and save lives.
The Rebuilding Michigan plan is financed without an increase at the gas pump, and will keep our drivers safe, save taxpayer dollars, and ensure we can start moving dirt right away. The state roads getting fixed under my plan will be the most highly-traveled, economically significant roads in Michigan, so more people will benefit. This is good for our families, our businesses, and our state’s economy as a whole.
My plan will address state roads and bridges in highly traveled and economically significant corridors, which is only part of the problem.
I can’t fix local roads and bridges on my own. That will require the Republican-led Legislature to join me at the table to find a real, long-term solution to fix our local roads. I invite the Legislature to step up and get serious about a funding solution that will get it done, and soon.
So, from now on, when you see orange barrels on a state road, slow down, and know that’s this administration fixing the damn roads. And next time you’re driving down your local street and hit another pothole or see another bridge closed, call up your legislators and tell them to act.
Michigan’s roads weren’t the only thing I talked about on Wednesday.
I also outlined upcoming actions to improve our public education system and get everyone on a path to a good-paying job. I announced a partnership with Michigan foundations to help parents and students navigate the punitive third-grade reading law signed by the previous administration, and called on the Legislature to pass a bipartisan proposal to fund the Michigan Reconnect program, which will provide tuition-free skills training and degree programs for adults and help us reach our goal of 60 percent post-secondary attainment by 2030.
Every Michigander also deserves access to quality, affordable health care. I called on the Legislature to do the right thing and work in a bipartisan manner to enshrine protections for people with pre-existing conditions into law. I also announced plans to create a task force focused on lowering the cost of prescription drugs and ensure every woman who chooses to have a child has the resources she needs for a healthy pregnancy, birth and postpartum care.
Better roads, great public schools, and access to quality, affordable health care are essential to building a state where future generations can thrive. But right now, Michigan has work to do on all of these fronts. We’re facing crises in infrastructure and education, and threats to health care coming out of Washington. I’m using every tool in my toolbox to address these issues head-on and build a stronger future for our state. I rolled up my sleeves and remain eager to work with anyone who wants to jump in and solve problems. But I’m also not going to wait to get started.
I’m getting it done now.