After the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package passed through Congress with bipartisan support, Dr. Bob Lorinser committed to focusing on what the investment could do for the area. The federal funding will be the most significant single infusion into our country's infrastructure in over a decade.
This investment is desperately needed to create family-sustaining jobs, advance careers, and help small businesses grow. We must upgrade crumbling infrastructure. Rep. Jack Bergman opposed the bipartisan agreement, which will ignite the economy and put money in working families' pockets and food on the table, all without raising taxes.
The most recent report card on Michigan's Infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state an overall GPA of D+. Michigan's civil engineers studied 13 infrastructure categories. Of those 13, nine infrastructure categories are in mediocre condition, and four are in poor condition.
Bob says this could be a "game-changer" for the First District. It could help Northern Michigan build a robust energy grid, advance public transportation, provide access to clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands, and start to meet the broadband needs of rural Michiganders, many of whom live in the First District. It is truly a transformative, historic bipartisan investment.
A Historic Investment in Michigan:
$7.3 billion for highway repairs for Michigan
$1 billion for environmental protection of the Great Lakes
$563 million for bridge replacement and repairs
$100 million to provide broadband coverage and connect at least 398,000 residents to the Internet
The legislation provides $65 billion in investment to improve broadband, with at least $100 million directed toward providing broadband coverage to at least 398,000 residents in Michigan. It aims to lower the price of internet services, create price transparency, and help more low-income households access the Internet.
Investment in Broadband
Jack Bergman has been trying to invite broadband expansion to the area since he took office. However, he is exclusively concentrating on attracting private corporate investment. Although there is undoubtedly a role for private enterprise, Bergman's efforts have failed. Approximately 1.2 million households in the state, many of which are in the district, do not have a permanently fixed broadband connection.
Bob applauds several organizations, specifically Michigan Broadband Cooperative, Connected Nation Michigan, and Center for Change, which are leading the way in advancing the conversation of broadband access in rural Northern Michigan.
At a local level, rural broadband can significantly improve our students' learning. It can assist our daughters in pursuing their passions in STEM programs to become engineers, scientists, and world leaders. It can help our sons realize their dreams of studying international business and communicating globally. Access to consistent, reliable broadband will also enable Northern Michigan residents to work from home, positively transforming our economy and attracting opportunity and investment to the area."
At a state level, the infrastructure bill would provide $100 million to extend broadband coverage and provide nearly 2.5 million low-income Michigan households the opportunity to apply for funds to help afford internet access, a goal Dr. Lorinser champions.
Investment in Infrastructure
Michigan stands to receive $7.3 billion in federal highway aid and $563 million for bridge replacement and repairs, and the opportunity to compete with other states for billions more in bridge and road projects. Bob believes this investment in our infrastructure is vital as our great state has received poor marks for years because of its infrastructure. A report from five years ago stated that much of Michigan's infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life.
Jobs – "The bottom line."
The way to attract new jobs is to be a place where people can work and live, where healthcare and education are superb, and where we welcome innovation. Infrastructure improvement will help, and thousands of jobs could result from this project throughout our district for years to come.
Unfortunately, the recent Census highlights that the most significant population loss by percentage in our state was in the Upper Peninsula. Jobs, population growth, and infrastructure improvement go hand in hand.
Lorinser commends both sides of the Congressional aisle for achieving compromise. The bill does not represent all that Democrats want, nor everything the Republicans seek. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) stated that the legislation "provides a once-in-a-generation investment in our country's physical infrastructure without raising taxes."
Jack Bergman has mislabeled this legislation and voted no on H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Unfortunately, his focus is not on the crucial necessity and positive attributes of the overdue investment. If Bob Lorinser were Northern Michigan's Congressman, he would have voted for this bill because it undoubtedly will help thousands of our citizens economically thrive.