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Whitmer, Stabenow: Feds must provide incentives for green infrastructure

gretchen whitmer wearing mask at podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer told a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday that the country needs a national strategy to tackle failing infrastructure and climate change.

Whitmer was part of a panel that testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. During her time, the governor referred to her promise to fix roads and to address climate-related flooding events that have bedeviled parts of the state.The governor said climate change poses a double threat.

“The health of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of our people and our planet,” she said.

Congress is at the beginning of the process of drafting a new transportation funding bill.

Whitmer said a massive investment is needed in more resilient roads, bridges and dams. She also said the U.S. is falling behind other nations in creating the infrastructure to support the new generation of cars and trucks.

“We need a national vision when it comes to transportation – much like the interstate highway system authored 65 years ago – to build a more-equitable economy and tackle climate change.”

That would include a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

The last increase in the federal gas tax was 1993, and Michigan’s legislative Republicans have thwarted Whitmer’s efforts to increase the state fuel tax to pay for infrastructure.

Whitmer was introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who sits on the committee.

“This is very exciting as we have all kinds of new clean energy jobs in manufacturing to give us the supply chain to be able to do it,” she said. “But China is already doing it. They’re already out there trying to own all of this.”

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.