White House grades Michigan’s infrastructure as ‘D+’

Biden Administration outlines infrastructural improvements needed under new American Jobs Plan

Power lines stretch into the distance over the Meadowlands in North Arlington, N.J., Tuesday, April 6, 2021. President Joe Biden is setting about convincing America it needs his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, deputizing a five-member "jobs Cabinet" to help in the effort. But the enormity of his task is clear after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's vowed to oppose the plan "every step of the way." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Biden administration has announced how funding from the American Jobs Plan will go toward infrastructure improvements in each state across the country -- including in Michigan, where infrastructure has been graded at a “D+.”

On Monday, the White House released individual fact sheets for each state, highlighting their existing infrastructural issues -- like the number of bridges and roads in poor condition, households lacking broadband access and more -- and how new legislation would address them. Officials did not clarify how specifically the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan would be divided among each state. However, officials did explain how much money would go toward each overarching infrastructure issue in the U.S., like roads, housing and drinking water.

Michigan’s infrastructure is reportedly in poor condition, being graded as a D+ on the Biden Administration’s “Infrastructure Report Card.” Nearby states like Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin were graded similarly, receiving a C-, C- and C, respectively.

The legislation would cover 12 sectors of the infrastructure industry. Here’s how the White House explained Michigan’s infrastructural problems and how the American Jobs Plan would address them:

  • Roads and bridges: In Michigan there are 1,219 bridges and over 7,300 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 4.6% in Michigan and on average, each driver pays $644 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.
  • Public transportation: Michiganders who take public transportation spend an extra 67.7% of their time commuting and non-White households are 5.6 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 17% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.
  • Resilient infrastructure: From 2010 to 2020, Michigan has experienced 19 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $5 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.
  • Drinking water: Over the next 20 years, Michigan’s drinking water infrastructure will require $13 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.
  • Housing: In part due to a lack of available and affordable housing, 514,000 renters in Michigan are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The President proposes investing over $200 billion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.
  • Broadband: 8.9% of Michiganders live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 51.4% of Michiganders live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 14.1% of Michigan households do not have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.
  • Caregiving: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.
  • Child care: In Michigan, there is an estimated $1.29 billion gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 44% of residents live in a childcare desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Michigan and the country.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturers account for more than 19% of total output in Michigan, employing 631,000 workers, or 14.2% of the state’s workforce. The American Job’s Plan will invest $300 billion to retool and revitalize American manufacturers.
  • Home energy: In Michigan, an average low-income family spends 8-10% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The American Jobs Plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.
  • Clean energy jobs: As of 2019, there were 125,365 Michiganders working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in creating more good paying union jobs advancing clean energy production by extending and expanding tax credits for clean energy generation, carbon capture and sequestration and clean energy manufacturing.
  • Veterans’ health: Michigan is home to over 589,326 veterans, 7.3% of whom are women and 53.4% of whom are over the age of 65. The President is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state of the art care to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. This includes improvements to ensure appropriate care for women and older veterans.

You can see each state’s American Jobs Plan fact sheet online here.

The figures announced in the individual state summaries paint a bleak outlook for the world’s largest economy after years of repairs being deferred and delayed. They suggest that too much infrastructure is unsafe for vehicles at any speed, while highlighting the costs of extreme weather events that have become more frequent with climate change as well as dead spots for broadband and a dearth of child care options.

“We don’t have a lot of work to do to persuade the American people that U.S. infrastructure needs major improvement,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Fox News Sunday. “The American people already know it.”

Republican lawmakers are largely opposed to Biden’s infrastructure proposal. Last week, President Biden said that he would be open to making compromises on the plan to help it get passed, but that inaction is inexcusable.

“Compromise is inevitable,” Biden said. “We’ll be open to good ideas in good faith negotiations. But here’s what we won’t be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction, simply, is not an option.”

More: Biden seeks a new view of infrastructure, far beyond asphalt

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.