Sen. Ruth Johnson supports $1.5B bridge repair plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Wednesday praised the newly introduced MI Safe Drive plan, which features $1.5 billion in federal funding to repair all Michigan bridges listed in severe condition.

“Safety is a huge concern for Michigan drivers, and the state of our roads and bridges is painfully obvious to everyone who lives or visits here,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “We have increased road funding, but this federal funding allows us to accelerate improvements. The Senate’s MI Safe Drive plan would invest a part of the billions in federal recovery dollars coming to our state into fixing over 400 aging and crumbling bridges.

“This is the type of long-term investment that we should be making with these one-time federal funds. It increases safety, supports local jobs and small businesses, brightens our future, and gives our communities more flexibility in how they use their limited resources.”

Senate Bill 529 would use $1.5 billion in federal recovery funds to fix bridges across the state in severe condition. It would allow projects to be bundled, where the design and construction of multiple projects around the state are contracted at the same time to save on the cost of each project.

Of the nearly 12,000 bridges in Michigan, 7,038 are managed by local municipalities. Of that number, over 400 are in critical need of repairs. SB 529 would fund repairs for all of the bridges in severe condition.

The bill also includes an additional $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 in 2020, was ranked the 15th worst in the nation for the total number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities at highway-rail crossings. The funds would help reduce or in some cases eliminate train-vehicle interactions through grade separation at crossings throughout the state.

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