Gov's infrastructure report out soon

- In last January's State of the State, Gov. Rick Snyder said he would create a study commission to look into the long-term infrastructure fix for the state and, on Monday, at three different locations, the report will be released with a price tag of between $5-10 billion dollars.

The panel of private sector companies including DTE and AT&T, lobbyists and local officials has been reviewing a draft report this week that includes several sources to raise the revenue to address infrastructure needs, including the water supply, Internet service for all parts of Michigan and sewer system repairs and other items. "There are twenty ways to do it," a source explains.

The draft report on revenue includes an "ala carte menu" of options including "real money in the multiple billion dollar category" along with smaller amounts in the 100,000 dollar range or higher. There was no discussion by the group regarding dipping into the state's general fund to underwrite a host of projects. Another funding option is to "reshuffle" some of the state DEQ dollars already allocated for infrastructure issues.

Bonding is another option patterned after the successful Clean Water Bonding ballot plan approved by the voters years ago.

The document states what everyone has known that the lead in the water problem is not confined to one city.  "Flint is not the only place where the money will be needed."  There's a recommendation that schools be tested for lead and "real money for a long period" will be needed in the neighborhood of $25-50 million over the next ten years.

It's also being suggested that an ancillary "emergency fund" for lead problems be established with no price tag on that since no one can predict if and when another Flint-like crisis arises.

Four sub-committees were created by the commission and each will list a series of bullet points on projects committee members believe should be tackled in the future.  Some of these recommendations will include pilot projects over the next two to five years.  There was debate in the commission about the signal it would send if some of the projects were earmarked for the next two years given that Gov. Snyder will be leaving office after that.  Some said a two to five year range should be used instead.

The governor will anchor the news conference from one location and two other satellite venues will also be part of the report rollout.

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