A monumental $1 trillion infrastructure bill took shape earlier this week in Washington. Two lawmakers from Michigan, who were part of the bipartisan effort, explain how it got done.
“The sewer systems were built in 1920 and 1950 … the minute you hear rain, everyone just shudders.” —Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn)
Listen: Reps. Dingell and Upton talk about importance of working across the aisle to create broad legislative changes.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) represents Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. Dingell says while instances of monumental legislation such as the infrastructure package demonstrate what can happen from bipartisan cooperation, smaller instances of collaboration frequently take place. “Sometimes people don’t realize how many issues Democrats and Republicans do work on together,” says Dingell, who adds “we work together across the aisle all the time.”
In discussing the issues at the heart of the package, things like roads, bridges and broadband internet, Dingell says these are issues impacting the lives of all Americans. When it comes to the devastation from all the flooding in her congressional district, Dingell points to the aging sewer systems in Dearborn. “The sewer systems were built in 1920 and 1950 … the minute you hear rain, everyone just shudders.” She says she hopes this funding will help Michiganders with day-to-day needs and will also help the nation more broadly in terms of developing a competitive edge on China.
“You can’t have roads where interstates wash out … you need sewage systems that can handle the flow so [sewage] doesn’t get dumped in our lakes. We are the Great Lakes State.” — Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph
Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) represents Michigan’s 6th District. Upton explains that the work for the infrastructure package began last April and the bill contains the same framework that was laid out in those early days. Upton says ”this is about roads, bridges … energy security,” and he adds that these kinds of infrastructural initiatives have traditionally been bipartisan. In discussing how America’s infrastructure compares with other nations, Upton notes that “China has spent more on concrete and construction in the last two years than we have in the last 100.”
Looking locally, Upton remarks that the roads in Michigan are bad and are long overdue for getting fixed. He also notes the potential for this package to help parts of the state develop better systems to deal with the worsening impacts of climate change. “Climate change is real … we all need to recognize that,” says Upton, adding that “you can’t have roads where interstates wash out … you need sewage systems that can handle the flow so [sewage] doesn’t get dumped in our lakes. We are the Great Lakes State.”