LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, on Aug. 23, proposed spending about $1 billion in federal pandemic rescue funding to help boost the business climate, redevelop polluted sites, and take steps such as accelerating the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The proposals are the latest offered by the Democratic governor since Congress and President Joe Biden approved an unprecedented $6.5 billion in discretionary aid for the state. She and the Republican-led Legislature have not allocated any of the funds, though some could be allotted as they work to finalize the next state budget before October.

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About $450 million would be used to redevelop brownfield properties, rehabilitate vacant buildings, prepare sites for business development and create more energy-efficient homes. Roughly $350 million would go toward supporting businesses and preparing the workforce. An additional $100 million would boost the Going PRO program, which gives employers money to help train current and newly hired workers.

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Whitmer pointed to challenges including not enough people to fill jobs, a lack of necessary skills, a lagging entrepreneurial sector, and a shortage of affordable housing.

“We can raise wages, give people paths to high-skill jobs, grow start-ups, build clean energy infrastructure and do so much more,” she said in a statement.

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