State would fund bascule bridges under Green legislation

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2013

Contact: Ryan Mitchell

State would fund bascule bridges under Green legislation

LANSING, Mich. ― Sen. Mike Green introduced a bill on Tuesday that would establish a permanent state fund for the operations of all publicly owned bascule- or movable- bridges in Michigan.

“Michigan waterways are critical to driving economic growth and tourism in this region and throughout the entire state,” said Green, R–Mayville. “Bay City’s bascule bridges allow commercial shippers and recreational boaters to move through our waterways.

“Because that brings business and jobs to all of Michigan, I believe it’s important that the state accept responsibility for their maintenance and operation.”

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Green secured $500,000 in state funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the Liberty and Independence Bridges, two of the four bascule bridges located on the Saginaw River in Bay City. The other two movable bridges on the river, Veteran’s Memorial and Lafayette, are located on state trunk lines and already receive state funding.

Green’s legislation, Senate Bill 281, would make the funding permanent. The bill would combine 12 local and 12 state trunk-line movable bridges under one statewide operational contract to be managed by MDOT.

Green’s measure would allow local governments to focus their limited resources on local infrastructure projects.

“The state already maintains Lafayette and Veterans, so it makes sense that all related waterway bridges should be streamlined into a single program, saving taxpayer dollars overall and freeing up local dollars for local street and infrastructure projects,” Green said.

SB 281 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.