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A new report gives Michigan's infrastructure a C-

Orange and white construction barrels on a highway
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report finds Michigan is spending too little to maintain its infrastructure.

The good news is the Michigan section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) finds the quality of the state’s infrastructure has improved since 2018.

The bad news is the overall grade for the state’s dams, rail, water and other infrastructure only improved from a D-plus to a C-minus. Roads scored a “D” in the latest report.

Here are Michigan’s specific infrastructure grades in the ASCE report card:

Aviation: C

Bridges: D+

Dams: C

Drinking Water: D+

Energy: D

Inland Waterways: C

Public Parks: C

Rail: C

Roads: D

Schools: C-

Solid Waste: C+

Stormwater: D

Transit: C-

Wastewater: C

While there is some variation, ASCE officials say Michigan’s grades are similar to national and region report cards.

At a news conference Monday in Lansing, officials representing various industry groups credited what improvement that has occurred on billions of dollars in one-time state and federal funding. The report notes Michigan has received $3.5 billion in bond funding from the “Rebuilding Michigan Program” and $4.7 billion from the “Building Michigan Together” plan. In addition, Michigan is in line to receive $11 billion over the next five years from the 2021 federal infrastructure law.

“The one-time infusions of money are great and they are helping,” said Ron Brenke, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan. “But what we’re really concerned about is the long-term sustainable funding for the system.”

In recent years, much of the attention in Lansing has been focused on Michigan’s crumbling roads, bridges and water systems. But industry leaders insist that is not enough.

Amy O’Leary is the executive director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. She calls for increased spending in all infrastructure areas.

“We need all of them in quality condition for our region and state to thrive,” said O’Leary.

O’Leary and others say it’s up to the Michigan Legislature to come up with a long-term funding plan to channel billions of dollars into infrastructure.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.