State commission formed in response to Flint crisis
Lansing — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued an executive order Thursday to create the “21st Century Infrastructure Commission,” a 27-member body inspired by the Flint contaminated water crisis.
The commission will be comprised of industry and government experts tasked with assessing and prioritizing infrastructure needs across the state, including underground water and sewerage systems, transportation, energy and communications networks.
Snyder proposed the commission in his January State of the State address, saying the Flint drinking water crisis highlighted the need for a long-term plan to address aging infrastructure throughout the state.
“As we look forward, Michigan is poised to be a leader in both the automotive and cyber security industries, so it is essential we modernize and maintain our infrastructure to match those goals,” Snyder said Thursday in a statement.
The commission will be tasked with providing a report to the governor and state Legislature by Nov. 30. Members will not be paid but may be reimbursed for travel.
Snyder will appoint 15 members to the commission, legislative leaders will appoint four members and the directors of various state departments and agencies will appoint eight others.
The commission will not focus exclusively on Flint, where harsh river water damaged aging pipes that leached lead into the city’s drinking water. The state recently awarded a $500,000 no-bid contract to a Flint firm to assess the Flint water system and do a sample replacement of 30 lead service lines.
Mayor Karen Weaver has launched her own “Fast-Start” programs to replace lead pipes in Flint but is still seeking state or federal funding to cover a portion of the estimated $55 million cost.