Sen. Peters highlights infrastructure importance, begins statewide listening tour

"There are so many needs our communities have: from roads, to bridges, to cyber security, you can go down the list. And all of them are expensive," said Peters.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Democratic senator Gary Peters visited Grand Rapids Wednesday, kicking off a statewide listening tour on infrastructure. 

This comes as Washington continues to debate a large infrastructure plan in the Senate. President Joe Biden originally proposed a nearly $2 trillion plan, highlighting roads, bridges, cyber security, broadband and more. Many senate republicans call the plan too expensive. They countered with their own, less costly plan. 

"Infrastructure is such a vital part of our community," said Erin Kuhn, executive director of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, "We don’t usually think about it until we drive over the road and hit a pothole, or turn on our faucet and it doesn’t work."

Some of the big ticket items the participants highlighted were construction wages, cyber security, broadband access to rural areas, and complete plan for roads that includes sidewalks, bike lanes, and tree coverage. 

"Americans know roads and bridges need to be fixed," said Peters, "They know sewer systems need to be fixed. They know we need to strengthen our cyber security defenses. So, in a bipartisan way across the country, people want to see the happen."

Meanwhile, in Lansing earlier in the day Wednesday, the group Americans for Prosperity in Michigan called out the infrastructure plan. Its director, Annie Patnaude, said it is "an absolutely unthinkable amount of money." 

Americans for Prosperity in Michigan say Biden's infrastructure plan has too much "pork" included. The group parked this 8-foot pig outside the Capitol lawn Wednesday.

"We are driving our country deeper in debt," said Patnaude, "This legislation includes $2.75 trillion dollars in tax hikes, and that’s a very dangerous thing to do at a time when our economy is fragile and trying to recover in the wake of COVID-19."

However, Peters said the longer the wait to improve infrastructure, the more expensive it becomes. 

"There are so many needs our communities have," said Peters, "From roads, to bridges, to cyber security, you can go down the list. And all of them are expensive. They require substantial investments we have underinvested for far too many years."

Peters said he is hoping the Senate can pass a bipartisan package by the end of July. 

By:  Alana Holland
Source: WZZM Channel 13 Grand Rapids