MICHIGAN — After numerous storms that have led to highway flooding and water-filled basements, Michigan Democrats have proposed a $5 billion plan to provide flood relief, fix storm and wastewater infrastructure, dam safety projects, upgrade drinking water infrastructure and other projects. The plan has not yet been introduced legislatively nor has a financing structure been announced. However, it shows that climate change and its effects are causing some legislators to take action.
The plan was introduced by Senators Stephanie Chang, Mallory McMorrow, Rosemary Bayer, Jeff Irwin and Adam Hollier as well as Representatives Abraham Aiyash and Kevin Hertel. Despite the fact that no Republicans showed up in support of the plan, Senator Stephanie Chang believes that with the current bi-partisan infrastructure bill passing the U.S. Senate, the likelihood of bipartisanship is greater, “I hope that that is a sign of the types of bipartisan work we can do together here in Michigan.”
Numerous storms have led to highway closures, flooded basements and record rainfall in Metro Detroit. The metropolitan area has both aging and outdated infrastructure as well as record setting storms which has led to this year’s major flooding. While Detroit makes the headlines, many other areas of Michigan have faced similar flooding and has the same aging infrastructure issues. For example, a storm in June of 2018 hit Houghton in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula causing damage to area roads and flooding in homes and businesses. In 2020, heavy rain and aging infrastructure led to a dam failure near Midland causing a flood that wreaked havoc on the area.
At press time, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have not committed to taking up the package despite the fact that storms like these are becoming more and more common. “It’s not enough to help after climate change-caused flooding events; we need to act with urgency and acknowledge the reality that these extreme weather events are increasing in frequency,” Senator Chang stated when introducing the plan.