Rapid Silver Line bus

Members of the American Public Transportation Association are in Washington this week. That includes the CEO of Grand Rapids’ Interurban Transit Partnership. Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid is speaking to Congress on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA says the Trump Administration is proposing deep cuts to public transportation funding to help fund its proposed $200 billion infrastructure initiative. Varga is making the case investing in public transit supports economic growth and creates jobs.


A bill that would infuse $175 million more into Michigan roads and bridge this year has taken another step forward in the Legislature.

A Senate committee voted 16-0 Wednesday to send the supplemental budget legislation to the full Senate, which is expected to vote Thursday.

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Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking to boost base funding for most of Michigan's public schools by the largest dollar amount in more than 15 years. Snyder on Wednesday will ask lawmakers for a $240 per-pupil increase for school districts that get the minimum grant - a 3.1 percent boost for more than 75 percent of traditional schools and all charters. Higher-funded schools would get $120 more, a 1.4 percent increase.

Snyder also is proposing to shift $325 million in general funds to road repairs, more than double what's called for under law.


Governor Rick Snyder has signed a spending bill that includes more money to prosecute members of his administration for their roles in the Flint water crisis. The $600,000 will go to state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office.

State Health and Human Services Department Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells are among those charged. They face manslaughter charges related to a fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

Michigan lawmakers have approved a $62.8 million supplemental budget bill that includes spending vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder months ago.

The bill passed by the House Tuesday would restore about half of the $5 million in proposed general spending nixed by the Republican governor. An education budget bill already on Snyder's desk includes another $1.2 million in spending he previously vetoed. Lawmakers say Snyder is now on board after reconsidering. Added back in is $150,000 to train grocers and others to prepare and clean equipment used to serve draft beer.


Republican legislative leaders remain committed to closing the pension system to new teachers and instead giving them a 401(k) after getting mixed news about tax revenues.

Legislative fiscal agencies say school aid collections will be between $286 million and $364 million higher this fiscal year and next than was projected in January.

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate is passing a budget that would spend or allocate $542 million less than what has been proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The $56 billion plan being approved Wednesday would spend $276 million less in general funds than Snyder proposed.

Republicans for now also are not adding about $266 million to savings as called for by the Republican governor.

GOP leaders are setting money aside to potentially cut taxes or address debt in the school employees' retirement system - issues that could become part of negotiations in coming weeks.


Central Michigan University plans to cut 30 vacant staff positions and lay off about 24 staff members amid efforts to balance its budget.

The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant reports the update comes as university administrators finalize a balanced fiscal year 2018 budget.

Barry Wilkes, the school's vice president of finance and administration, told faculty and staff in an email this week that there will be 4 percent, or $20 million, in total base budget reductions.

An all-campus budget forum was scheduled for Thursday.

flickr.com / DonkeyHotey

The Michigan Municipal League is hosting public forums talking about the state’s system for funding municipalities that it believes is broken. The MML says mayors have consolidated services saving taxpayer dollars but more needs to be done.

During its Save MI City stop in Grand Rapids, WGVU spoke with the Michigan Municipal League about the fallout from the Great Recession and how decreases in revenue sharing are impacting cities across the state.

Lake Michigan
3bylunch via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

A group representing Great Lakes region mayors in the U.S. and Canada is sounding the alarm against potentially drastic cuts to an ecological recovery initiative for the Great Lakes.

The Trump administration's potential cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative were reported by the Detroit Free Press last week.

They would slash annual funding for the $300 million program to $10 million.

The initiative combats invasive species, curbs nutrient-fueled algae blooms, cleans up toxic messes and restores sensitive fish and wildlife habitat.