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Infrastructure Law and Policy

Infrastructure Law and Policy

Infrastructure Law and Policy

News and analysis focusing on the full spectrum of infrastructure-related issues facing state and local governments, including developments in legislation, policies, and projects

Michigan Governor Appoints Infrastructure Commission Members

We previously discussed Governor Snyder’s establishment of the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission (the “Commission”) through the issuance of Executive Order 2016-5 (“EO 2016-5”). Yesterday, the Governor announced the appointment of 19 individuals who will serve on the Commission along with representatives of eight state departments or agencies. In light of the broad scope of infrastructure-related issues that the Commission must analyze and address, these individuals represent a diverse array of industries and interests, including academia, the government, the nonprofit sector, and various business concentrations. Read More ›

Michigan’s Governor Establishes 21st Century Infrastructure Commission

On March 10th, Governor Rick Snyder issued Executive Order No. 2016-5 (“EO 2016-5”). EO 2016-5 establishes the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission (the “Commission”) as a two-year temporary commission within the Executive Office of the Governor. The Governor first announced plans for this advisory body in the 2016 State of the State address, where he stated that the Commission would “study what Michigan needs, develop a plan, making the right investments in water, sewer, transportation, broadband and other areas.” Read More ›

Soo Locks Upgrades: Process and Timeline

A recent Detroit Free Press article predicts “dire consequences” should Michigan’s Soo Locks be forced to shut down by a failure in infrastructure. The premonition stems from a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security report which found that a gate failure at the Soo’s Poe Lock could result in up to a 6 month shutdown, creating a domino effect that would halt operations for a number of industries. The Poe Lock is currently the only lock capable of handling the 1,000-foot freighters used to transport raw materials like iron ore. Read More ›

Michigan Makes Emergency Purchases Related to Flint Water

The State Administrative Board’s Finance and Claims Committee (the “Committee”) recently released the agenda for its February 23rd meeting. Generally, the Committee must consider all state contracts valued at $250,000 or more, and make a recommendation to the State Administrative Board (the “Board”) as to whether or not to approve those contracts. Next week, the Committee will consider a number of such contracts, but, more importantly, this agenda also shows that the Committee is being notified of several emergency contracts related to water infrastructure in Flint. Among these are a $30M contract between DTMB and Home Depot to “procure enough water filters, filter replacement cartridges, bottled water, and plumbing supplies for the city of Flint” and a $778,650 contract between LARA and Johnson & Wood, LLC, a mechanical contracting company in Burton, Michigan, for the replacement of plumbing fixtures in Flint. Read More ›

Michigan House Moves Flint Water Appropriation Bill and Sinking Fund Legislation

The Michigan House Appropriations Committee unanimously reported two bills related to infrastructure today:

SB 136

SB 136, sponsored by Senator Hildenbrand, is a supplemental appropriation that will provide $30M in funding to reimburse Flint residents for the costs of up to 65 percent of their water bills paid between April 2014 and April 2016. Other, non-residential water customers will be reimbursed for up to 20 percent of their bills incurred during the same period. Read More ›

Competitive Solicitation for State Purchasing During Emergencies

State law generally requires state contracts meeting certain criteria (to include dollar thresholds) to be competitively bid. However, the Management and Budget Act, Act 431 of 1984, provides that, in limited instances, the State of Michigan may be permitted to make emergency purchases without a competitive solicitation process or traditional bidding. In addition to situations where a formal state of emergency has been declared, MCL 18.1261(3) provides that competitive solicitation is not required if procurement of goods or services “is necessary for the imminent protection of public health or safety or to mitigate an imminent threat to public health or safety,” as determined by the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (“DTMB”) director. Procurement without competitive solicitation is also permissible when conducted for “emergency repair or construction caused by unforeseen circumstances when the repair or construction is necessary to protect life or property.” Read More ›

Michigan Governor’s Budget Highlights Infrastructure Investments

Michigan Governor Snyder has made improving and modernizing Michigan’s infrastructure a focus of his administration. Appropriations for infrastructure-related projects were a top priority in the Governor’s FY 2016-2017 budget recommendations unveiled yesterday. In addition to a $54.9B budget recommendation for the coming state fiscal year, the Governor also issued a supplemental budget request for FY 2015-2016, which includes $25M for water-related infrastructure projects in Flint and a $165M investment in the to-be-created Michigan Infrastructure Fund. This fund will be used to replace high-risk lead and copper lines in communities throughout the State. The fund, which must be created by legislation, will also be used to implement the recommendations of the Commission for Building the 21st Century Infrastructure, the formation of which the Governor announced in his 2016 State of the State Address, and whose report on the state of Michigan’s infrastructure is due in September 2016. Read More ›

Welcome to Dykema’s Infrastructure Law and Policy Blog

The Infrastructure Law and Policy Blog will cover developments in infrastructure-related laws, policies, and projects in a number of states where members of the firm are actively engaged in these important issues. Our initial notes will start with the State of Michigan, where state leaders are currently focused on four key infrastructure areas: roads and bridges, mass transit, sewer and water, and broadband internet. Some of the main projects for this initiative include addressing the Flint water crisis, updating pipes for natural gas transmission, and expanding the Soo Locks. We will also be following developments on the restructuring of the Detroit Public Schools as it relates to the repurposing of school buildings. As the Governor, Legislature, and local governments continue to grapple with these important issues, this blog will serve as a reliable source for information on the law, policy and legislation developed to address infrastructure-related concerns.