On March 10th, Governor Rick Snyder issued Executive Order No. 2016-5 (“EO 2016-5”). EO 2016-5 establishes the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission (the “Commission”) as a two-year temporary commission within the Executive Office of the Governor. The Governor first announced plans for this advisory body in the 2016 State of the State address, where he stated that the Commission would “study what Michigan needs, develop a plan, making the right investments in water, sewer, transportation, broadband and other areas.”

Although individual members have not yet been named, we anticipate that Commission appointments will be made later this month. EO 2016-5 creates a 27-member Commission, 19 of whom will be voting members, including 15 appointed by the Governor, and one each to be appointed by House Speaker Cotter, House Minority Leader Greimel, Senate Majority Leader Meekhof, and Senate Minority Leader Ananich. The other eight members of the Commission will be non-voting, ex officio members representing all of the following State departments or agencies:

  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;
  • Department of Environmental Quality;
  • Department of Natural Resources;
  • Department of Technology, Management, and Budget;
  • Department of Transportation;
  • Michigan Agency for Energy;
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation; and
  • Michigan Public Service Commission

Members appointed to the Commission will represent various industries and interests within the State, as well as the governmental and nonprofit sectors, and also have expertise in areas such as infrastructure design and planning, municipal planning, public utilities, water and sewer infrastructure, wastewater treatment, and communications and technology.

Once the Governor appoints the Commission, it will be charged with completing all of the following tasks:

  • Developing an all-inclusive strategic asset management plan for the State’s infrastructure, including components related to transportation, water and sewer, wastewater treatment and drainage, energy, and communications;
  • Completing an assessment of current infrastructure needs throughout the State;
  • Researching and identifying best practices employed by other jurisdictions with regard to infrastructure planning and maintenance;
  • Developing methods to incentivize and encourage state and local collaboration on evaluating infrastructure needs and coordinating planning efforts;
  • Promoting public-private partnerships to assist in creating a modern infrastructure in the State;
  • Considering the lifetime costs of infrastructure improvements, as well as the overall economic value of infrastructure to the State;
  • Developing strategies to consider issues such as land use, quality of life, and economic development in statewide infrastructure planning processes;
  • Developing methods to incorporate modern communications enhancements and technological developments into statewide infrastructure planning;
  • Assessing available financing options for the implementation of infrastructure recommendations;
  • Exploring the use of information technology, including data analysis, in planning, evaluating, and investing in various infrastructure projects;
  • Prioritizing state infrastructure needs for the next 30-50 years; and
  • Helping to develop and promote public confidence in the soundness of the State’s infrastructure system.

The Commission has the authority to establish subcommittees or workgroups to discuss and formulate its recommendations, and invite public participation on these subcommittees and workgroups as it deems necessary.

The Commission’s work will be staffed by members of the Governor’s staff along with assistance from other participating state departments and agencies. EO 2016-5 requires the Commission to provide a full set of recommendations by September 30, 2016, and to complete its work and issue a final report to the Governor and the Legislature by November 30, 2016.