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McBroom votes for historic investment to preserve, restore U.P., state’s infrastructure

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Ed McBroom on Thursday voted for a historic $4.8 billion plan to make critical improvements to the state’s water, transportation, parks, and broadband infrastructure, and to address problems with the state Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Senate Bill 565 would use $4.1 billion in federal funding and $571 million in state resources to make important infrastructure investments across the state, including in the Upper Peninsula. More than $1.7 billion would be dedicated to help communities improve their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure — with at least 25% of drinking water funds dedicated to replacing lead pipes.

“Communities throughout the U.P. are grappling with problems from aging water systems, including and especially old lead pipes,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “The historic funding we approved today will help make transformational changes to these water systems and those throughout the state, benefitting residents now and in generations to come.”

The bill also features $450 million to make infrastructure upgrades at state and local parks, over $322 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for small local governments, nearly $317 million in federal funding to fix aging roads and bridges, $250 million to rebuild destroyed or damaged dams and prioritize risk reduction projects at other dams in the state, and $250 million to help improve broadband connectivity to more households and small businesses.

“It’s not just safe, clean water,” McBroom said. “We’re leveraging this rare opportunity to invest federal funding to fix our roads, bridges and dams, as well as to update and upgrade state and local parks, and connect more rural residents to fast, reliable internet — all things that are vital to residents and to our economy, both now and in the future.”

SB 565 also designates $50 million to help install filtered water stations in schools, $60 million to help reduce PFAS or other contaminants from drinking water, $35 million to fix failing septic systems, and $92.8 million for airport infrastructure projects.

Also approved was House Bill 5525, which would dedicate $139.8 million to improve service at the Unemployment Insurance Agency to help Michigan workers who lost their jobs. The funding would go to improve customer service, enhance anti-fraud protection, and reduce a backlog and improve timeliness of payments.

“The pandemic exposed serious problems at the state Unemployment Insurance Agency, which led to billions of taxpayer dollars being lost to fraudsters,” McBroom said. “With today’s vote, we’re dedicating significant resources to address those underlying problems to ensure they don’t happen again so that people who have lost their jobs can get the assistance they need in a timely manner.”

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