BlueGreen Alliance Report Shows Michigan Stands to Gain 119,300 Jobs Repairing, Upgrading Infrastructure

Today in Lansing, labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 119,300 jobs could be created by making much-needed investments in roads and bridges, water, wastewater, transit, energy, and communication systems.

November 20, 2013

LANSING, MI – Today in Lansing, Michigan labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 119,300 jobs could be created across the state’s economy by making much-needed investments in the basic systems we rely on everyday—roads and bridges, water, wastewater, transit, energy, and communication systems.

The report identifies needed investments—some of which are already in the planning stages—that would have both the greatest impact on job creation and protecting communities from the impacts of climate change.

“Despite improvements in recent years, the Michigan electric grid remains insufficient to meet projected demands for reliable, economical, and cleaner energy,” said Jim Harrison. “Infrastructure has always been the backbone on which our economy runs. It’s time we make the investments that we’ve been putting off for far too long.”

The report—Repair Michigan: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Systems for Climate Change—includes the number of direct jobs from impacted sectors—like construction laborers, equipment operators, and maintenance workers—as well as the number of indirect jobs from industries that service those sectors and the supply chain. In addition, the report estimated the number of induced jobs supported as the workers buy goods and services, including increased demand for retail, housing, and financial services.

“Climate disruption makes our lives worse every day, not only by making extreme weather more frequent and severe, but by damaging the systems we rely on for transportation, communication, energy, water and so much more,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Director for the Sierra Club. “President Obama’s comprehensive climate action plan is a good start, but we also need to repair Michigan’s infrastructure to make our economy stronger, and more competitive, our communities safe and healthy, and to stop climate change from disrupting our lives.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years, and in 2013, the nation earned a “D+” average. Michigan’s grade was even lower, earning a “D” grade. The report card found that 38 percent of the state’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, half of the sanitary sewer mileage was built before 1970, and that though transit ridership has grown significantly in the last two decades, the rise is outstripping capacity.

“Our failure to repair our infrastructure is a vicious circle,” said Brian Grochowski, Scientists & Engineers Executive Board Member of Local 517M of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “As more and more systems fail due to age and chronic underinvestment, the inefficiency created increases the impact we have on climate change, making it worse. Climate change in turn brings severe weather—like floods, droughts, and super storms—which puts even more strain on communities and their vulnerable infrastructure systems.”

The release is part of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America effort to fix the basic systems people rely on every day—for power, water, to communicate with each other, and to get people and goods from place to place—which will create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier.

“Investments in our infrastructure will create much-needed jobs in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, research and other industries and protect the health of our communities and environment,” said Jim Shaw, Business Representative, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union (SMART) Local 7. “We must commit today to make our vision of the future a reality—a national and state infrastructure system that is the source of our prosperity. It’s time for leaders at every level of government to lead the way in repairing Michigan and the rest of the country.”

###

Grand Rapids, MI – Today in Grand Rapids, labor and environmental leaders released a new report showing an estimated 119,300 jobs could be created across the state’s economy by making much-needed investments in the basic systems we rely on everyday—roads and bridges, water, wastewater, transit, energy, and communication systems.

The report identifies needed investments—some of which are already in the planning stages—that would have both the greatest impact on job creation and protecting communities from the impacts of climate change.

“Despite improvements in recent years, the Michigan electric grid remains insufficient to meet projected demands for reliable, economical, and cleaner energy,” said Jim Harrison, National Representative, Utility Workers Union of America. “Infrastructure has always been the backbone on which our economy runs. It’s time we make the investments that we’ve been putting off for far too long.”

The report—Repair Michigan: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Systems for Climate Change—includes the number of direct jobs from impacted sectors—like construction laborers, equipment operators, and maintenance workers—as well as the number of indirect jobs from industries that service those sectors and the supply chain. In addition, the report estimated the number of induced jobs supported as the workers buy goods and services, including increased demand for retail, housing, and financial services.

“It’s hard not to be alarmed about the new risks a changing climate pose for communities and the ripple effect it’s having on the basic systems we depend on every day,” said Sarah Mullkoff, Midwest Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “The good news is that more and more people are waking up to the fact that we can advance the president’s climate action plan,  see the benefits of investments in our infrastructure to protect and prevent worse effects of climate change and create jobs and economic growth along the way.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years, and in 2013, the nation earned a “D+” average. Michigan’s grade was even lower, earning a “D” grade. The report card found that 38 percent of the state’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, half of the sanitary sewer mileage was built before 1970, and that though transit ridership has grown significantly in the last two decades, the rise is outstripping capacity.

“We’re ready and able to do all the hard work of bringing our basic infrastructure systems into the future,” said Mark Mangione, United Association Local 174, Business Manager. “Failure to act now will be far more costly in the long run. We cannot afford to continue putting our communities at risk because we failed to take the necessary steps to limit carbon pollution, make our homes and businesses more efficient, and prepare our infrastructure for the reality of climate change.”

The release is part of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America effort to fix the basic systems people rely on every day—for power, water, to communicate with each other, and to get people and goods from place to place—which will create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier.

“Investments in our infrastructure will create much-needed jobs in construction, manufacturing, maintenance, research and other industries and protect the health of our communities and environment,” said Jim Shaw, Business Representative, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union (SMART) Local 7. “We must commit today to make our vision of the future a reality—a national and state infrastructure system that is the source of our prosperity. It’s time for leaders at every level of government to lead the way in repairing Michigan and the rest of the country.”