Michigan’s US senators tout priorities of $1T infrastructure bill


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Expanding broadband services, improving roads and bridges, addressing climate change, supporting the electrification of the nation’s transportation fleet and protecting the Great Lakes: According to Michigan’s two U.S. senators, that is what a massive infrastructure bill poised to pass Congress Tuesday will do.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, said the $1.2 trillion bill will help the United States be competitive in some areas after years of what he calls neglect.

“It’s exciting that we’re finally addressing infrastructure, basic infrastructure, roads and bridges, in this country that have been neglected far too long,” Peters said during a virtual press conference Monday. “In fact, if you look at studies of infrastructure around the world, the United States ranks no. 13 in the world in terms of the quality of the infrastructure we have. That is simply unacceptable. This is the United States of America. We need to be no. 1 in the world, not no. 13, and finally we’re coming together in a bipartisan way. Certainly, President Biden did an great job bringing people together to say that we need to do this now, we need to make significant investments. It’s basically what I heard as I traveled around the state of Michigan talking to folks about the needs that we have and what I’ve heard over and over again is that you have to be big, you have to be bold and we cannot accept being 18th in the world in terms of infrastructure,” he said.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, said that fighting climate change is part of the Democrats’ overall infrastructure plan and that means further supporting the electrification of the nation’s auto fleet that has a direct and dramatic impact on Michigan.

“On the climate piece of this, it is about electric vehicles. Helping consumers through aggressive consumer rebates to get into our great vehicles made in Michigan, new clean energy manufacturing credits, we’re going to bring those jobs home in order to make electric vehicles and really compete with China right now, who owns the majority of the market, by the way, and has spent over $150 billion, investing in all of this,” she said. “We’ve got to have the supply chain: the batteries, Lord knows the semiconductors, the other pieces, we want to bring all those jobs home.”

Tuesday’s vote is expected to be bipartisan, with at least some Republican voting in favor of the plan.

There is, however, a second bill with a price tag of about $3.5 trillion that includes spending that some Republicans say goes well beyond traditional infrastructure spending. Democrats say they are willing to use the reconciliation process to pass that measure without any Republican votes. Movement on that second bill could begin as early as this week.

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