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Rep. Kildee tours I-75 construction site, argues for federal infrastructure spending

Brett Dahlberg
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat, tours a Michigan Department of Transportation construction site on I-75 near Saginaw.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee argued for more federal infrastructure funding after touring a construction site along I-75 near Saginaw on Thursday.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is rebuilding and widening a section of the highway with federal funding. MDOT manager Jack Hofweber told Kildee the road has needed work for a long time -- up to 10 years.

Kildee, a Democrat representing a strip of Michigan running north from Flint to Tawas City, said Michigan has many stretches of highway that are in disrepair, but state funds alone can’t fix them all. He said that’s why passing the federal infrastructure bill now under consideration by Congress is important.

“Bigger projects like this are going to be more doable, because we will be able to fund a higher number of our priorities. Right now, MDOT has to make a decision every year about the most needy projects,” he said.

The congressman also said the bill should also include funding for vocational schools and technical training to build the construction workforce, as well as recreational infrastructure, like the conversion of a nearby abandoned railroad to a multi-use trail.

“Infrastructure is surely about the economy, but it’s ultimately -- this is all about quality of life for Americans,” Kildee said. “Our quality of life is measured not just in our economic benefits, but in the ability to enjoy the natural beauty that is, in our case, the state of Michigan.”

Republicans have said the legislation is too broad, and Democrats are trying to jam too many issues into one bill.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.