Climate takes center stage in Dems’ sweeping infrastructure plan
U.S. House Democrats this week unveiled plans to spend $760 billion over five years on infrastructure upgrades throughout the country. A central theme throughout their plan: combating climate change. The announcement happened to take place hours before Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave her second State of the State address in Lansing. Whitmer, who ran in 2018 on the message of “fixing the damn roads,” tried to get buy-in last year from the GOP-led Legislature on her 45-cent gas tax hike to no avail. So on Wednesday, she announced her “Rebuilding Michigan” plan for $3.5 billion in road bonds to finance major projects. On Thursday morning, the Michigan State Transportation Commission approved her request. The framework unveiled by U.S. House Democrats on Wednesday prioritizes slashing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector while also boosting resiliency in the face of a changing climate. “I think everything we do should have an element of climate change,” U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) told the Advance Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “So our energy bills, our education bills, because of our classroom building infrastructure, obviously manufacturing … It has to be included.” Democrats hope to plow more than $34 billion into clean energy investments, including efforts to upgrade the electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy and grants for local governments to fund energy efficiency and conservation projects.