Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Brings Another Eight-Figure Payout for Three Michigan Cities

The city of Pontiac will get $16.3 million to install a new trail along the former Grand TrunkBelt Line Railroad. (City of Pontiac via Facebook)

By Kyle Kaminski

July 6, 2023

About $32 million in federal grant funding awarded through President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will enable three major infrastructure projects to move forward in Michigan.

LANSING—A federal grant program that was expanded following the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is continuing to pay dividends in Michigan—now in the form of three multi-million dollar grants designed to kickstart major infrastructure projects across the state.

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg last week announced that President Joe Biden’s administration awarded more than $2.2 billion from the RAISE grant program to 162 different infrastructure projects across the country. Michigan scored about $31.6 million for three projects.

“Using the funds in President Biden’s infrastructure law, we are helping communities in every state across the country realize their visions for new infrastructure projects,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “This round of RAISE grants is helping create a new generation of good-paying jobs in rural and urban communities alike, with projects whose benefits will include improving safety, fighting climate change, advancing equity, strengthening our supply chain, and more.”

Federal officials said this year’s grants were specifically doled out to projects designed to help more people get where they need to be quickly, affordably, and safely. Some are poised to strengthen supply chains and help combat climate change. Others involve repairing roads, replacing bridges, and building new bike lanes. Most of the projects are located in poor and historically disadvantaged communities. All of them are expected to help create new jobs. 

Here’s a quick overview of how the cash is being put to work in Michigan: 

Pike Street Clinton River Trail Connector

The city of Pontiac, which was identified as a historically disadvantaged community, will get $16.3 million to install a new trail along the former Grand TrunkBelt Line Railroad. The project will also involve pedestrian improvements along four miles of roads—mostly along Pike Street, as well as on three adjacent connecting roads of Front and Bagley streets, and Eastway Drive.

(Screenshot via US Department of Transportation)

Federal officials said the project was selected, in part, because it aims to make streets safer and reduce transportation-related air pollution through various pedestrian improvements—including the installation of new bike lanes and sidewalks that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Truck Stop of the Future

Wayne County, which was also identified as a historically disadvantaged community, will get an $8.5 million grant to construct electric vehicle charging stations in Redford—including direct current fast chargers to help make roads more accessible for a new wave of commercial EVs. 

(Screenshot via US Department of Transportation)

Federal officials said the project was picked for funding because it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions—a key driver of climate change and extreme weather—and align with the state’s overall strategy to transition away from fossil fuels. 

The charging station—which has been billed as a “truck stop of the future”—is also set to include innovative new technology like a solar roof and an underground battery energy storage system. Redford’s close proximity to I-96 is poised to create a convenient supply chain pitstop.

Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Jackson

The city of Jackson, which was identified as an area of persistent poverty, will receive $6.8 million in grant funding to rebuild a one-mile stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from South Street to Morrell Street—including adding parking lanes on both sides of the street, and new sidewalks, street lighting, trees, stormwater upgrades, and other pedestrian improvements.

(Screenshot via US Department of Transportation)

Federal officials said the project will boost both safety and economic opportunity by replacing outdated infrastructure and creating safer networks for non-motorized travel. The changes are also set to significantly reduce downtown congestion and curb travel times for local commuters.

More Federal Funding En Route

The US Department of Transportation on Wednesday started accepting applications for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program, which combines two different grant programs created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

The newly streamlined initiative is designed to help reconnect communities to economic opportunities—primarily by building more transportation infrastructure. All told, more than $3.3 billion has been made available to assist local communities with projects that improve walkability and mitigate barriers to mobility and access, such as train tracks or highways.

READ MORE: What Michigan Has Gotten Out Of Biden’s Infrastructure Law (So Far)

Earlier this year, the Biden administration also awarded $185 million to 45 communities as part of the Reconnecting Communities Program. This summer, federal officials will also launch the new Reconnecting Communities Institute, which will help fund construction and planning for “transformative community-led solutions,” including capping interstates with parks, filling in sunken highways to reclaim the land for housing, converting inhospitable transportation facilities to tree-lined streets, and creating new public crossings through new bridges, tunnels, and trails.

“Transportation should never divide communities—its purpose is to connect people to jobs, schools, housing, groceries, family, places of worship, and more,” Buttigeg said in a statement.

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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