Legislation is scheduled to be introduced early next week to address some of the state’s water and sewer system needs. Following recommendations from an advisory committee on which MITA staff served, a package of four bills has been drafted to provide grants and low-interest loans to help communities upgrade underground infrastructure systems. The bills are expected to be introduced in both the House and Senate.
Michigan is currently under-investing in its entire infrastructure system; and, multiple reports on roads and bridges have concluded under-investing does not save money. In contrast, as underground infrastructure continues to age and deteriorate it is actually more costly to repair. The recommendation from the State Revolving Fund Advisory Group, if entirely implemented, will be a very big step towards stabilizing Michigan’s underground infrastructure.
In addition to releasing the remaining $654 million bonds for projects, the legislation would establish grants for communities to develop asset management programs. More often than not local governments do not know the extent of water and sewer needs and do not have the necessary funds to dedicate towards studying those needs. These new grants will shed light on many areas of the state so future planning can be done to upgrade Michigan’s underground systems.
MITA staff is hopeful that committee hearings and further movement can be made on this legislation before the legislature recesses for summer break.
E-VERIFY LANGUAGE TO BE INCLUDED IN THE TRANSPORTATION BUDGET
Requirements for contractors and subcontractors to e-verify the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S. has been added to the Michigan Department of Transportation appropriation bill.
Specifically, “the department shall develop and implement processes, including use of the E-Verify system, to ensure that all new-hire department employees and new-hire employees of contractors and subcontractors paid from funds appropriated in this act are legally present and eligible to work in the U.S. E-Verify means an internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in partnership with the Social Security Administration.
Discussions are continuing on the specific language of the requirement; however, one area that MITA staff is discussing with lawmakers is how MDOT will monitor subcontractors and whether or not prime contractors will ultimately be responsible for verifying the subcontractors they use. Mandating that contractors obtain employee records for all of their subcontractor employees will put an unnecessary burden on businesses.
Although the bills have not gone through final passage, it is likely the language will remain throughout the process. If you have questions regarding the E-Verify program or anything else related to this, please contact Lance Binoniemi at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (517) 347-8336.