Michigan is a state built on transportation and right now it has never been more expensive to move within the state.
There has also never been more funding spent on construction, whether it be roads, bridges or dams.
This week at the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference, Governor Gretchen Whitmer streamlined project funding while confronting the rising cost of living.
There is irony there and the jokes have been made, talking about transportation and fuel costs on an island where there are no cars. But this is where those conversations are had. First a major announcement of transportation funding Thursday and then many conversations of the cost of transport.
“We will work hard to make sure we move forward the two most crucial elements in any construction project, dirt and paperwork,” said Whitmer.
Whitmer signed an executive directive that will streamline the permitting of federally funded construction projects. Three billion dollars are coming to Michigan from Washington DC. This move will let the money be spent quickly and it has to be, rising inflation and supply costs are making every project run heavy.
“We are working the plan and planning the work but we realize we have to be a little bit nimble and be creative,” said Whitmer.
Whitmer signed the directive with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg standing by her side.
“If we identify there is a particular piece, or level of pressure in a certain part of the supply chain, or one material or another,” said Buttigeig, “Is there anything we can change to smooth things out?”
There’s one thing that will only get more expensive as the summer heats up, gas prices.
Right now, the legislature is butting heads with Whitmer on the next step.
“I have been very clear that some type of gas tax holiday, sales tax holiday could be helpful to people who are struggling,” said Whitmer.
The federal government is figuring it out, slowly.
“All options are on the table right now for bringing people relief,” said Buttigieg.
So far nothing has been done, prices keep rising and Michiganders keep paying.
“Anybody who shares that goal will find an eager partner in me,” said Whitmer.
Senator Debbie Stabenow says they have been focused on price gouging. She says the last time the barrel of oil was at $116, the price of a gallon of gas was more than a dollar less.