Michigan’s infrastructure isn’t just aging – it’s crumbling, collapsing and failing.
While some infrastructure problems are hard to ignore, like the pothole-riddled Michigan roads, most remain invisible until a large-scale crisis erupts. Consider two recent examples: the Flint water crisis that made international headlines, and the massive sinkhole that opened last month after an 11-feet-in-diameter sewage line collapsed 60 feet beneath Fraser, just north of Detroit. Out of sight, out of mind.
Michigan’s infrastructure is an interconnected network of thousands of miles of storm water and waste water sewers, collection and treatment systems, hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and bridges, about 2,500 dams and 1,390 community drinking water systems.
These are the systems that connect to the kitchens and bathrooms in our homes. They give us clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing. They keep E.coli and other toxins out of Michigan’s rivers and lakes. They enable us to drive safely to work, home and recreation. They protect our roads, highways and basements from catastrophic floods.
Safe, reliable infrastructure protects Michigan’s water, public health and economy. More directly: safe, reliable infrastructure enables us to flush our toilets, drink our water, move Michigan products to market and swim at our beaches.
But Michigan’s infrastructure is alarmingly old. In fact in many parts of Michigan, the water you use every day to shower or drink likely flows through an infrastructure system that is 50 to 100 years old. Some Michigan infrastructure systems date back to the late 1800s.
For decades, Michigan at all levels of government and community has failed to plan for and fund the state’s massive unmet infrastructure needs. The results:
In a “report card” prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Michigan’s infrastructure received a “D” grade.