State’s infrastructure badly in need of upgrade, repair

A report card of sorts relating to the state of Michigan’s infrastructure was rolled out last week and the news, regrettably and predictably, wasn’t good.

The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, formed by Snyder nearly one year ago, found that the general condition of Michigan’s bridges, roadways, water systems and broadband availability all slipped, much of it during Snyder’s administration. And fixing it isn’t going to come cheap.

The panel estimated that Michigan is going to have to raise $4 billion each year to start addressing the problem. The report states that while the national average for total state and local capital spending is 10.2 percent from 2010 to 2014, spending in Michigan was 6.4 percent for the same time period. The Associated Press reported Michigan fell behind adjacent states in infrastructure spending including Indiana (9.9 percent), Ohio (9.2 percent) and Wisconsin (8.5 percent).

Here are a handful of other report highlights, as reported in a Mining Journal story on the issue:

≤ Many of the states’ 1,390 community water systems were built 50 to 100 years ago.

≤ Since 2008, an average of 5.7 billion gallons of untreated sewage flowed into state waterways annually.

≤ 25 percent of beaches were closed in 2015 due to concerns about E.coli contamination.

≤ 39 percent of roads in the state are in poor condition.

≤ 1,200 Michigan bridges are structurally deficient.

≤ Nearly half a million households are without advanced broadband internet.

This rather gloomy report came as absolutely no surprise to anyone who drives regularly on Michigan roads, crosses Michigan bridges or swims on Michigan beaches.

This is a good report upon which concrete plans going forward can be based. But said plans have to be developed, revenue sources identified and programs put into place. And that takes political leadership.

So often government at all levels gets these kinds of documents together, only to promptly forget about them. We hope that doesn’t happen in this case.