After a year of independent research by a third-party consulting firm, Business Leaders for Michigan today released a study of the state’s infrastructure that supports the findings of the Governor’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. It also issued a set of policy principles to guide implementation and improvement.
“The overall grade of ‘D’ the American Society of Civil Engineers has given our state’s infrastructure condition tells us what we already know — we have a critical problem,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan in Lansing.
“The BLM report and Governor’s Commission findings document these needs in detail and identify best practices others have used to address similar challenges. We hope the policy guidelines BLM adopted give policymakers a roadmap for how to move these ideas into action.”
The BLM study aligned with the Governor’s Commission in several respects, including: Michigan’s infrastructure funding gap of $4 billion per year, goals of growing the economy, improving health and safety, and achieving sustainability through infrastructure improvements. The plan also called for an asset management system, a state infrastructure coordination council, sustainable funding sources, and innovative financing mechanisms.
Rothwell adds that the plan identifies promising best practices that can be brought to scale. While infrastructure needs are a growing challenge nationwide, he believes Michigan’s plan contains key strategies that can make the state’s infrastructure “some of the finest.”
In addition to an assessment of best practices and prioritization of Michigan’s unique needs, the report also highlights fundraising issues. Rothwell says Michigan should move past offering “fair to good” levels of infrastructure and strive for “better or best” levels.
“Simply put, we must become far more strategic about our infrastructure investments,” says Rothwell. “For too long, we’ve been putting out fires. We need to lay out a comprehensive plan for fixing, maintaining, and expanding our infrastructure so it supports our needs now and in the future.”
A full copy of the BLM report is available here.