LANSING—Legislation introduced by state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, establishing the “Moveable Bridge Fund” was voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee with bipartisan support on Wednesday and will now go before the full Senate for consideration.
“Taxpayers and local elected officials in communities around the state are being short-changed because of the presence of these bridges, many of them built by the state, despite their benefit to Michigan’s economy and tourism,” Green said in applauding the committee approval. “I am pleased with today’s passage and will continue working with Bay City’s leaders and my fellow legislators to get the measure to the governor’s desk.”
Senate Bill 281 would set up the fund to assist local governments in paying for the operational costs of moveable bridges. There are currently 22 moveable bridges across the state, with nearly half being locally owned and the remainder being owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The city of Bay City has four such bridges and is itself responsible for the costs of operating two.
Currently, state funding treats the bridges as standard roadways despite the operational costs being significantly higher. If passed in its current form, this measure is estimated to save Bay City and other localities hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, money that could be used for repairing local roads.