Short-changing Michigan local governments tied to deteriorating water systems

May 9, 2022 Bridge Michigan

Michigan has had its share of disasters. Dams collapsed after heavy rains, flooding Midland. A sinkhole the size of a football field was caused by a sewer collapse in Macomb County. And in Flint, children were exposed to lead-contaminated water.

Many of Michigan’s 1,773 cities, villages and townships are reaching a crisis point because of a decline in federal dollars for water and sewer infrastructure that’s made worse by the state’s centralized taxing system.

Flint was a financial crisis long before it was a water crisis, and those two things are intricately connected,” said Stephanie Leiser, a lecturer with the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.