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Capital Outlay Awaits Governor’s Signature
LANSING — After months of wrangling between the House and Senate, the Michigan Legislature has agreed to a capital outlay budget that includes the pass through of $162.9 million in federal funds for airport improvement projects across the state. Earlier this week, the federal government said the state needed to act by June 20 and show that the funds are committed to Michigan airports, according to the State Budget. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has already indicated she will sign the bill in order to encumber the federal funds for airports.
The Michigan Senate had cleared a capital outlay budget that approved the pass-along of $162.9 million for airports but eliminated funding for college and university projects. House Democrats, however, have been pushing for months for an expanded capital outlay budget that included 39 higher education projects. Gov. Jennifer Granholm had proposed capital outlay budget that contained only a few university projects.
As passed by the Legislature, the capital outlay budget does not include the university and community college construction projects, but the House has sent another capital outlay bill into conference, according to Gongwer News Service. That bill, SB511, would include university projects, should all sides come to an agreement.
In Michigan, federal monies come back to airports through the state and pass through the capital outlay budget. In most other states, airports get their money directly from the federal government. But for months partisan bickering has stalled the pass through of those funds.
The Federal Aviation Administration granted the funds for 105 airport improvement projects. Gerald R. Ford International Airport plans to use its $3.6 million share of the funds to pay for a half-million dollar replacement fire truck, land purchase reimbursements and a glycol collection unit.
The Kent County Aeronautics Board accepted the $3.6 million FAA grant earlier this month, a formal step that had to be taken to receive the federal dollars that are contained in the capital outlay budget.