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E-M:/ How can stimulus dollars help Michigan's environment and economy?

The state has created a new section on the state web site where proposals related to the federal stimulus package are listed. One of the priorities listed is:

"Invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to create jobs, save money, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels."


One way that the state could assist local governments and schools in this regard is to ensure that some of the dollars help beef up the activities of the "Rebuild Michigan" program. The state's Energy Office currently offers a free introductory energy analysis for local governments and schools. This analysis helps an rganization identify a wide range of improvements from the low-cost to major upgrades that canl help reduce energy usage and improve energy efficiency. The City of Novi is one of the local governments that has taken advantage of this program. What would make this program even more effective would be additional funding that would provide grants to local governments and schools to help finance the larger improvements that may be cost-prohibitive in the current fiscal climate. By making this investment in energy efficiency, the State would ensure that these stimulus dollars would have an immediate impact and a long-term impact saving dollars and energy. 

More info. on the Rebuild Michigan program here:


Another way that the state could assist local governments while also boosting the state's economy is to help local governments invest in hybrid vehicles. Local government vehicles are prime candidates for hybrid technology as most of their travel is short distance and on local roads. A number of communities have started to purchase hybrid vehicles for their motor vehicle fleets. However, many communities squeezed by shrinking budgets are having a hard time justifying the additional cost that comes with purchasing hybrid vehicles. 

If the state was to institute a grant program using the stimulus dollars to provide a few thousand dollars per vehicle to communities that purchased hybrid vehicles, the state could help make up the current price difference, allowing local communities to invest in hybrid technology without having to sacrifice other local priorities. This in turn would help boost the production of hybrid vehicles which would be a benefit for the auto companies and hybrid technology in general. This is consistent with other elements of the federal stimulus package which aims to invest in hybrid vehicles for the federal vehicle fleet and to encourage the public to purchase hybrid vehicles through tax credits:


I'm sure there are many other investments that would help the state meet this goal. These are two examples that would be a great help to local governments and their residents while also benefitting the state as a whole. 

Andrew Mutch