Slotkin visit highlights infrastructure needs — from broadband to water to charging stations

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s recent day in Livingston County on Oct. 14 took her from Fowlerville to Cohoctah to Pinckney to talk infrastructure.

“We’re trying to get these talks done in earnest,” Slotkin said, “but it really brings it home when you go to these small communities where the private companies have basically said it’s not worth our while to invest …, to put in broadband, to put in EV chargers. We’ve got to change that through public-private partnerships That’s what we’ve been talking about today. It really brings what we’re doing in Washington home to rural, in this case, Livingston County.”

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In Fowlerville, Slotkin met with village leaders and water operators to discuss the possibility of a new water treatment plant to remove radium from the water, a project for which she is advocating in the Community Projects Funding process, and one that would benefit from the bipartisan infrastructure package.

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Cohoctah Township:

From Fowlerville, the congresswoman headed to Cohoctah Township, where she met with township Supervisor Mark Fosdick and Clerk Barb Fear, as well as Kris Tobbe from the county to talk about rural broadband, which struggles with service so bad that Zoom meetings can’t be held in the township hall.

One of the challenges for Cohoctah Township expressed by officials is that providers don’t see providing service to small, rural communities as worthwhile.

The $37.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds that landed in Livingston County’s coffers can be used for broadband, a move that would directly benefit communities like Cohoctah Township, which indicated that it will likely use the ARP funds it received for the project.

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Slotkin ended her day in the Village of Pinckney, meeting with President Rebecca Foster and zoning administrator Julie Durkin.

Pinckney is looking to put electric vehicle charges in its downtowns, and the programs and grants currently available don’t include rural communities; however, there are funds available in the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“We just finished a day talking about rural infrastructure,” Slotkin said. “And why are we talking about that? Because there’s a big bipartisan infrastructure bill that is poised to do really important things, particularly in our rural communities.

“We were in Fowlerville talking about a new water treatment plant. We were in Cohoctah talking about how to get broadband to even the township hall, and then we were here in Pinckney talking about how to get EV, electric vehicle chargers, for people so that they can come and visit the town. All of these things are hopefully going to be possible when we do our job in Congress and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

The bill is currently being wrangled by Democrats, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a vote deadline for Oct. 31.

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