By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-13th District) has secured $18.7 million for her district, including 1.4 million for service projects for Hines Drive and Beech Daly Road.
A June 8 press release said the funding will come through the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, the $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill introduced last week.
North Beech Daly Road from Warren Avenue to Joy Road will be rebuilt; the Hines Drive bridge over the Middle Rouge River will be replaced.
Also included in the bill were four of Tlaib’s submissions: Pennsylvania Road grade separation, on border of Romulus and Huron Township for $15 million; Inkster Road Bridge over the Lower Rouge River — capital preventative maintenance in Inkster for $329,600; pedestrian improvements on US-12 in Wayne for $828,000; and Oakland Avenue Road rehabilitation project in Highland Park for $1.2 million.
According to the press release, the INVEST Act provides legislative text to the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan and calls for $109 billion in transit investment, with $343 billion allocated for roads, bridges and safety, $109 billion for transit, and $95 billion for passenger and freight rail.
Every member of the U.S. Congress was asked to submit transportation service projects, including two for Dearborn Heights which are now in the House plan
During the June 8 Dearborn Heights City Council meeting, Tlaib explained the process of getting the projects included in the bill.
“It got through that phase which is incredibly important because when it gets in its a pretty much shoe-in,” Tlaib said. “What I hear from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) is usually they don’t take it out in the Senate.”
Tlaib also spoke about an American Rescue Plan, in which she said she did not vote for one of the COVID-19 bills because state and local funding was not included.
“This particular last proposal did, and about over $24 million has been allocated for Dearborn Heights as of March 2021,” Tlaib said. “I haven’t heard anything about changes, but if it does I will make sure to communicate that with the city,” she said.
Local governments are going to receive the allotment in two parts — 50 percent was provided in May 2021 and then the other 50 percent approximately 12 months later. The goal of the plan is to help fill any gaps or challenges in city budgets.
“As you know the pandemic was something that a lot of us did not plan for and so a lot of things had changes made to,” Tlaib said. “It will address negative economic impacts caused by public health emergency, support public health expenditures, provide premium pay for essential workers, invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.”
Tlaib also provided an update on Ecorse Creek. She said she and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) had a “really good” conversation with the Biden administration on creek flooding.
Tlaib said the creek is something on which everyone needs to be diligent.
“Our division for our state or region for Army Corps of Engineers has made this Ecorse Creek project a priority issue,” she said. “It’s only one piece, it will not fix completely all the struggles and challenges. At least 20 percent of some of the challenges with the flooding in Ecorse Creek will be addressed with the federal support.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t continue to pressure FEMA and other folks to help us with many of the families impacted by the increase in water levels at the creek.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])