Detroit/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 12, 2024
Michigan Tackles Climate Impact with $51 Million in Federal Funds for Flood Resilience Projects in Kalamazoo and Grand RapidsSource: Catherine Ottarson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michigan is grappling with climate change head-on with a recent influx of federal dollars aimed at beefing up the state's infrastructure against extreme weather. The U.S. Department of Transportation has doled out $51 million specifically for three projects in the Great Lakes State, out of the $830 million earmarked nationwide.

The lion's share of the Michigan funds — nearly $38 million — is slated for Kalamazoo. There, the city is tasked with overhauling an antiquated stormwater system to mitigate the risks of flooding, which have plagued the area and even led to a fatality during the 2018 deluge. The city of Kalamazoo's project will focus on "daylighting" portions of an overburdened creek and improving the overall environmental quality, according to The Detroit News.

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids is on the receiving end of $12 million to refurbish storm drainage on 28th Street, a critical corridor for transportation and freight. This project includes the replacement of a failing pump station and installing rain gardens to handle storm runoff, as reported by The Detroit News. In southeast Michigan, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will utilize $900,000 to create a robust Resilience Improvement Plan to shield the region's 239 communities from worsening climate impacts, with a keen eye for battling flooding.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer heralded the federal grants as major victories for Michigan, emphasizing that the funds will bolster the state's infrastructure resilience and prepare communities for natural calamities such as floods. In a statement obtained by fox17online, she noted, "These climate-driven challenges damage our infrastructure, and when that happens, people on the margins suffer the most." The governor underscored the urgency of responding to climate change, stating, "It's time to do something about it."

"It’s so incredible to be celebrating a major federal grant we received. It’s going to really have an impact the city’s west side," said Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema, indicating the potential difference the project will make in the community, as reported by Furthermore, the move to expose Arcadia Creek in Kalamazoo garnered special attention from federal grant providers due to a previous successful daylighting effort downtown, a Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt told reporters.

Projects across the nation have been earmarked for similar resilience efforts, ranging from flood control in Colorado to bridge replacement in Iowa, aiming to combat the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events induced by climate change.