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Republicans announce $1.5 billion bridge repair plan for Michigan

Plan would bundle projects together to save construction costs like an earlier proposal from Gov. Whitmer
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Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:00 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan Republicans announced a plan to repair bridges across the state that is five times the size of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan.

Republican State Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte announced the MI Safe Drive plan on Wednesday, which calls for spending $1.5 billion from federal COVID-19 relief funds to fix bridges maintained by local government agencies around Michigan. The plan would bundle projects to save on construction costs.

Barrett said an estimated 400 bridges managed by cities and counties in Michigan are in severe condition.

“This is an excellent opportunity to invest over a billion dollars directly into fixing a significant portion of our state’s dilapidated bridges without sticking local governments and residents with the bill,” said Barrett. “Instead of just talking about infrastructure improvements, let’s do something now and make our bridges safer for generations to come.”

Whitmer proposed a similar $300 million bridge bundling plan as part of her 2022 budget.

Barrett’s bill also calls for spending $126 million on safety improvements at railroad crossings. Michigan ranks 15th worst for collisions, injuries and deaths at railroad crossings, so the bill would provide funding to build train overpasses and underpasses that eliminate crossings.

“The MI Safe Drive plan will go a long way toward improving our state’s transportation infrastructure without additional costs to state taxpayers,” Barrett said. “I look forward to getting this done so we can get repair projects going as soon as possible.”

Senate Bill 529 is pending in the Appropriations Committee.

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