Billions of COVID Relief Dollars Await to Be Spent

The state of Michigan has been handed billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief dollars over the past year through multiple relief packages. Michigan still has most of that money sitting around waiting to be spent.

“Michiganders don’t benefit from the state holding on to these dollars,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel, democrat from East Lansing, “The economy in Michigan is better coming out of the pandemic than most states but we are going to have to keep that train rolling.”Covid Funding Pkg 12 2 2100 00 32 11still001

It can be spent on roads. schools. broadband. Healthcare, water or several other spots. The legislature are the ones responsible for making those decisions. They haven’t.

“I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic as we move forward,” said Hertel.

“Right now we’re trying to get as many specific supplementals in play to allow it to go through the legislative process,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey, the Senate Majority Leader.

Starting the process can still be a long way to money being spent. The legislature just returned from a break in session and has plans to start their holiday break in two weeks.

“We shouldn’t leave here by the end of the year with these dollars in their coffers,” said Hertel, “They can help Michiganders.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has pushed for the money to be spent. Both sides of the aisle have laid out plans.

“There’s no goal for the number of dollars and by when,” said Shirkey, “We’re just going to continue to follow our overarching mantra, which is focusing on the capital strain and if not for the privilege and benefit of having a lot of extra money around, that we wouldn’t be able to get to.”

One major piece made it out of the Senate Thursday, $3.3 billion on water infrastructure, including one billion for replacing lead lines. It’s a start.

“I suppose nobody can complain,” said Shirkey, “About the fact that that’s one of the most important ones that we have.”

Categories: Coronavirus