Runestad cosponsors $1.5B plan to fix all bridges in severe condition

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Jim Runestad on Wednesday cosponsored new Senate legislation to use $1.5 billion in federal funding to repair all Michigan bridges listed in severe condition.

“While we have increased state funding for road and bridge repairs, many Michigan families still have to use bridges that are in serious need of repair work — and this plan addresses that need,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Instead of using additional federal dollars to increase the size and scope of government, the MI Safe Drive plan would invest a large part of our federal recovery funds into improving the safety of our roads by fixing all of our most severe local bridges.

“In addition to boosting safety, we would be providing people with a long-term positive return on their federal tax dollars and free up local funds for use in fixing more local roads.”

Senate Bill 529 would use $1.5 billion in federal recovery funds to fix bridges across the state in severe condition through bundling, where the design and construction of multiple projects around the state are contracted at the same time.

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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