Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a $74.1 billion state budget that would significantly boost education spending, pay bonuses to frontline workers and cut taxes for retirees and low-income families.

The election-year plan comes with Michigan awash in surplus revenues and federal pandemic aid. If the Republican-controlled Legislature approves the proposal, there would be a 5% increase in base aid for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges, and a 10% increase in revenue-sharing payments to municipalities. In addition to calling for sizable funding hikes, Whitmer proposed the creation of a new $1 billion school infrastructure modernization fund.

Republicans and Whitmer will iron out the budget in the coming months, though Republicans have said they favor broader tax relief.

Rebuilding Our Infrastructure

The budget recommendation calls for historic investments in Michigan’s infrastructure, including:

  • $578 million in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to provide resources for several Michigan infrastructure projects that will continue to fix roads, bridges, railways, and local and intercity transit, while also providing capital improvements at airports.
  • $480 million in fiscal year 2022 to increase road and bridge construction for state and local roads, highways, and bridges.
  • $150 million to support projects that are economically critical, carry high traffic volumes, increase the useful life of key local roads, or will be completed in conjunction with bridge replacement projects.
  • $66 million for generators for pump stations to ensure reliable generator backup power is available at all 164 MDOT-owned pumping stations, increasing public safety measures for highway flooding events.
  • $60 million for rail grade separation to support projects at key congested local rail crossings that impede efficient movement of commercial and passenger vehicles and jeopardize timely public safety response in an emergency.
  • $3.9 million for the Michigan Automated Weather Observation System Replacement Plan to increase public safety by replacing the state’s automated weather observations, some of which are 30 years old.
  • $5 million to fund and staff the newly formed Michigan Infrastructure Office to effectively and efficiently implement federal infrastructure funding and serve as an interagency coordinating body across state government and stakeholder groups.

“Governor Whitmer’s budget will make Michigan’s roads safer for Michiganders as they commute to work, drop their kids off at school, or run errands while helping to protect the hard-working folks risking their lives in work zones,” said Geno Alessandrini, Business Manager for the Michigan Laborers Union. “Fixing local roads with the right mix and materials will support good-paying construction jobs and continue growing Michigan’s economy.”

This article originally appeared in Upper Michigan’s Source. For more, click here