Contact: Mike Nystrom Executive Vice President Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association 517-896-1493
METRO DETROIT FLOODS EXPOSE UNDERINVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
OKEMOS, Mich. – Just as our harsh winter wreaked havoc on already underfunded and deteriorating roads, Mother Nature again reminded us this week that persistent underinvestment in our infrastructure brings consequences.
Massive flooding in Southeastern Michigan caused by at least five inches of rain Monday night resulted in at least two fatalities, stranded motorists, thousands of abandoned vehicles on freeways, water clogged side streets, electrical outages, closed businesses and flooded basements. Photos of the situation in the Detroit newspapers show water almost as high as freeway overpasses. In addition, as the waters recede, the floods have left in their wake crumbling roads caused by the pressure of the water.
“While the exact cause of the flooding remains under investigation, it appears that proper investment in sewer infrastructure, which has been delayed in Southeastern Michigan, could have mitigated this crisis,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
In 2001, the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments estimated the region needed $30 billion in sewer upgrades by 2030, and it still does. A spokesman for the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner was quoted in news reports today as saying that there needs to be major investments in infrastructure because recent heavy rain is what can be expected in the future.
“Just like the damage the harsh winter did to our roads, the damage the flooding has caused reminds us that we need to prepare for the future by investing now in our infrastructure,” Nystrom said. “Delaying annual investment in infrastructure is like sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it doesn’t rain or snow. The Michigan Legislature can’t ignore the situation any longer.”
In 2002 MITA was a leader in the passage of Clean Water legislation that provided $1 billion in bond funding for municipalities to improve their sewer systems and comply with the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. MITA also helped with the passage of legislation that helped provide low interest loans to municipalities to make it easier for them to qualify for the bonds. Some municipalities in Michigan have taken advantage of the funding, but many others have not.
MITA represents a broad spectrum of heavy construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up. For more information, visit www.mi-ita.com.