PORTLAND, Mich. (WLNS) – Our state’s top leader took a trip to a mid-Michigan city today in hopes of connecting with the people there after a state of emergency struck the area.
Hundreds of people filled the library at Portland High School this morning to hear Governor Gretchen Whitmer address the flooding in the community and her plan to fix Michigan roads.
“There are a lot of Portland residents that are still getting back on their feet and getting their homes back in order,” said Whitmer.
“She recognized the struggles that we’ve had all winter and how that’s affected our businesses, our people,” said Portland resident Sara Pohl.
Pohl has lived in Portland her entire life. She’s says in light of the recent ice jams and flooding in the community, it means a lot to her that Governor Whitmer took the time to see how they’re doing.
“She actually paid attention and said you know what, these people, even though they’re not Lansing or Detroit or Grand Rapids need to have an assurance, and for me to come and show that I really care about everybody,” said Pohl.
In addition to addressing Portland’s struggles, the governor shared her plan to fix Michigan’s roads.
“This is an important moment for us to pick the right path for our future,” said Whitmer.
Whitmer’s plan includes raising $2.5 billion dollars annually to fix the roads by adding a fuel tax that would cost the average driver $23 a month.
She says although this might be a little much for low income families, it’ll help Michiganders in the long run.
“After 40 years of disinvestment and failure, we’re all paying for bad roads, we’re just paying in the form of more collision insurance costs,” said Whitmer. “We’re paying in the form of new tires or windshields.”
But whether those agree with Whitmer’s plan or not, Pohl says events like this one are important to educate the community.
“My kids said, why are we going to this?,” said Pohl. “Because we want them to see this is how democracy and discussion works, how do people get information, how do they ask questions in a manner that is productive, rather than just yelling at each other?”