Whitmer: Use $1.4B to expand health access, build facilities

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed spending $1.4 billion in federal pandemic funding to expand health care and infrastructure, including to bolster access to mental health services, replace state psychiatric hospitals and build a new public health lab.

The proposal, if approved by the Republican-led Legislature, would account for more than a fifth of Michigan’s $6.5 billion in discretionary rescue funding approved by Congress and President Joe Biden.

Whitmer wants $335 million in grants to improve access to treatments for autism, behavioral health and substance abuse.

Congress and President Joe Biden approved an unprecedented $6.5 billion in discretionary aid for Michigan. Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature have not allocated any of the funds.

In earlier announcements, Whitmer proposed spending $1.5 billion to help boost the business climate and redevelop polluted sites, $200 million to replace lead water pipes, and $75 million to reduce violent crime.