Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says one of his biggest issues for 2017 is how the state will continue to improve and better direct the state's infrastructure system.
Gov. Snyder highlighted the infrastructure problems in his 2016 State of the State speech as he talked about what needed to be done to solve the water crisis in Flint.
"We see the rusting bridges, we drive on the roads and feel the potholes and cracked concrete, but underground some pipes are over 100 years old, some are made of wood, others made of lead, many burst in the winter," Gov. Snyder said last January. "Out of sight, out of mind until we have water problems or power goes out or sewer backs up from a flood or our freeways flood because the pumps don’t work."
In an interview done before the end of 2016, Gov. Snyder told us in the new year he hopes to emphasize the issue again in 2017 to create the Michigan Infrastructure Council. He also wants to develop a concept called "integrated asset management".
"Think about in front of your home in front of the studio where you work and you see that road, how many times have you seen that road torn up for road work," Gov. Snyder said. "And then you'll see it torn up for gas and electric work and then you'll see it torn up for fiber optics and broadband and then it will get torn up for water and sewer."
"That's kind of crazy," Gov. Snyder said.
Gov. Snyder wants a system of government that oversees the entire infrastructure process to avoid the duplication to save money. In other words, when a project has to be done for one need, perhaps all the work can be done at one time to replace the aging systems.
"Let's make smarter investments and instead of having (that work) happen, without any coordination, let's all work together and do them all at once so that can save a lot of money," Gov. Snyder.
Gov. Snyder has mentioned lead pipes, natural gas infrastructure, wastewater overflows, energy reliability, ports needing emergency dredging, Line 5 underneath the Great Lakes and the Soo Locks as issues that need solutions.
Surely, the water issues in Flint are still top of mind in 2017 as well.
To date, the state of Michigan has provided more than $234 million to the city of Flint. More than $72 million was spent to ensure safe drinking water. More than 600 pipes have been replaced under the ground for a total of $27 million spent.
Flint, undoubtedly, will continue to be a big priority for Gov. Snyder during this last 2-year legislative term during his time in office. He's anticipating a water summit in January to talk about the quality of the state's water systems.
The Governor's State of the State speech is coming up Tuesday, January 17th.