Michigan governor pushes for infrastructure improvements to prevent flood damage

Officials working on how to prevent similar issues from happening again

Gov. Whitmer pushes for infrastructure improvements to prevent flood damage

DETROIT – Officials in Michigan are working to make sure residents across Metro Detroit do not experience more damage from floods in the future.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference down on an empty I-94. A bit surreal to see one of Metro Detroit’s main areas so empty.

She talked about what is being done to get help to those impacted by the recent storms.

Additionally, she discussed what Michigan needs to be doing next to stop this from happening again as storms and flooding become more common.

Whitmer surveyed the clean up of the weekend’s widespread flooding.

On the ground many were asking about what could be done to stop this from happening again.

More: Metro Detroit floods: How to get help

“Now we are seeing the cost of not fixing it. It would be overly simplistic to use one time dollars because this is an ongoing problem,” said Whitmer.

Right now there are billions of dollars left to be sent out for infrastructure projects around the state but politics in Lansing are once again slowing work down.

On Monday, Whitmer called for an agreement between parties.

“The legislature didn’t agree but they didn’t counter with anything either. So we’ve moved forward on what we can do unilaterally but ultimately we need partnership,” said Whitmer.

Nick Schroek, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law talked about the issue.

Related: Red Cross providing assistance to flood victims in Metro Detroit

Schroek is the director of Detroit Mercy’s Center for Environmental Law. He’s among the experts hoping this latest round of 500-year flooding, the third of its kind in just 10 years will push the state to look for fixes that take climate change into account.

“We should be a magnet for people who have to leave hotter and drier parts of the country or powder dry parts of the world. But if we don’t have the infrastructure in place, we’re not going to be able to receive those people, and they’re going to look elsewhere if, you know, we don’t want to live in a community where basements are always flooding, where the streets are impassable, we have to figure out better solutions,” said Schroek.

The governor’s infrastructure plan includes about $3.5 billion. Some of that federal money, some of it state money.

Republicans want to use $2 billion less and have it all come from federal relief funds. So far there’s no deal.

In regards to fixing the flooding problem experts agree there are no cheap fixes.

Read: Metro Detroit neighborhoods impacted by floods, State of Emergency declared

MORE: Check out these photos of major flooding across Metro Detroit

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.