Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2020
Governor Whitmer Announces Bold Administrative Action to Fix the Damn Roads in State of the State Address
Also announces plans to improve public education, close the skills gap, and expand health coverage
LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Whitmer delivered her second State of the State address to the Michigan Legislature, where she announced a series of bold administrative actions to get things done for the people of Michigan. In her speech, the governor announced plans to ask the State Transportation Commission to issue state road bonds, financed without an increase at the gas pump, so we can start fixing the roads now.
The governor’s Rebuilding Michigan plan will add an additional $3.5 billion in road funding, which will add and expand 122 major new road projects and nearly double the amount available to fix roads over the next five years than if we wait. Moving projects ahead 4-6 years allows MDOT to save taxpayers money by avoiding the annual cost of inflation.
“Our roads are dangerous, and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to fix them,” said Governor Whitmer. “That’s why I’m taking action now to fix the damn roads and keep Michiganders safe. My Rebuild Michigan plan will ensure we start moving dirt this spring and save us money in the long run. But if we’re going to fix all the dangerous roads in Michigan, Republicans need to step up and get serious about finding a long-term road funding solution for our local roads and bridges. I’ll work with them when they’re ready, but in the meantime, I’m going to get to work fixing our state roads on my own.”
The roads getting fixed under the governor’s plan will be high volume freeway and non-freeway roads with the greatest economic impact and more average passenger vehicles per day.
“Fixing our roads is a smart investment that makes good financial sense for Michigan,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “Improving our infrastructure benefits all who live, work and play in Michigan.”
“Our hardworking MDOT employees are ready to get to work rebuilding Michigan’s infrastructure this spring,” said Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul Ajegba. “Governor Whitmer’s bonding plan will save us crucial time and save taxpayers money. I’m excited for the department to get started, and proud to partner with Governor Whitmer as she takes bold action for Michigan drivers.”
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM GOVERNOR WHITMER’S ADDRESS:
Education and Skills: Also in her state of the state address, Governor Whitmer announced actions to improve our public education system and get everyone on a path to a good job. She announced a partnership with Michigan foundations to help parents and students navigate the third grade reading law signed by Governor Snyder, and highlighted her work to move Michigan toward a weighted funding formula based on equity and inclusion. She also called on the legislature to pass a bipartisan proposal to fund the Michigan Reconnect program, which will provide free skills training and degree programs for adults and help us reach our goal of 60 percent postsecondary attainment by 2030.
Jobs and the Economy: The governor also announced that in 2019, Michigan created nearly 11,000 new auto jobs, the most the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has ever announced in a single year. Additionally, she highlighted the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in partnership with the Canadian government, which will create thousands of good-paying Michigan jobs and spur economic growth in our state for years to come. She also spoke about her Fall 2019 announcement to expand the right to overtime pay to 200,000 Michigan workers, and announced plans to crack down on companies that commit payroll fraud by misclassifying their employees to shortchange them on payday.
Health Care: Governor Whitmer also called on the Republican Legislature to do the right thing and work with Democrats to enshrine protections for people with pre-existing conditions into law. She also announced plans to create a task force focused on lowering the cost of prescription drugs and ensure every woman who chooses to have a child has the resources she needs for a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.
Milliken Visitor Center: In her speech, Governor Whitmer announced that this year, in Governor Milliken’s memory, we will break ground on the Milliken Visitor Center at arch rock on Mackinac Island.
Governor Whitmer has spent her first year in office working hard to get things done for the people of Michigan. She’s committed to continue that work to fix the damn roads and take action right now, with or without help from the legislature.
To view the governor’s full State of the State address, quotes from the speech, fact sheets on each of her policy proposals, and information on her special guests, please visit Michigan.gov/MISOTS20.