LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Aric Nesbitt on Thursday supported passage of the $1.3 billion MI Safe Drive plan to fund the state’s most needed bridge repairs, calling it another major step forward and a win for local municipalities and, ultimately, Michigan taxpayers.
“By using these federal funds to prioritize the state’s most needed bridge projects, we are able to continue our priority of improving Michigan’s neglected roads without raising the tax burden on Michigan workers,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “Not only will this improve the safety of numerous bridges across the state, covering the costs of these bridge repairs with federal monies will also help local governments by freeing up funding for other needed road projects in their communities.”
Senate Bill 529, cosponsored by Nesbitt, would utilize $1.3 billion in one-time federal money to fund a statewide bridge repair initiative referred to as bundling, which allows design and construction of multiple projects around the state to be contracted at the same time.
Of the nearly 12,000 bridges in Michigan, 7,038 are managed by local municipalities. Of that number, roughly 400 are poorly rated and could be tagged for critical repairs under the MI Safe Drive plan. Seventeen of those bridges are located within the 26th District — 16 in Allegan County and one in Van Buren County.
The bill also includes over $195 million to cover local road agency revenue losses and $126 million in federal money to improve safety at several intersections between railways and roadways. Michigan has over 4,000 rail crossings with public highways within the state and was recently ranked the 15th worst in the nation for the total number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities at highway-rail crossings. These projects would help to reduce accidents between trains and passenger vehicles and would reduce congestion, which would also help first responders to get to emergencies more quickly.
“The MI Safe Drive plan to repair bridges is another major step forward for our state,” Nesbitt said. “We’ve continued to approve funding for countless construction projects and have even pushed up funding to make additional repairs sooner than originally expected. It is important that we keep moving in this direction, making improvements that benefit every Michigander without raising taxes or putting Michigan families in debt.”