Public-private partnerships authorized in Michigan
January 25, 2021
A Michigan bill package signed into law authorizes certain municipalities to enter into public-private partnerships to get needed bridge work done.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the bill package, SB1215-1218, to update the state’s Home Rule Act to allow cities with moveable bridges, or bascule bridges, to enter into public-private partnerships to cover repairs and construction.
Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, said the legislation is intended to benefit the entire Great Lakes Bay Region. There is no specific municipality identified, but he said it would benefit municipalities like Bay City.
The locale near the base of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron has two bridges described by legislators as “in dire need of repair.”
Horn and Sens. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, say costs to make repairs far outweigh what is feasible from the local level.
“Unfortunately, especially after revenues have been even further affected by COVID-19, the city’s repair needs are beyond available funding at all levels of government,” Horn said in recent remarks.
According to a legislative analysis, Bay City has partnered with United Bridge Partners to work on the city’s two bascule bridges. The Legislature was required to act before the work can get underway.
SB1215 also specifies that tolls could not be collected on drivers until a bridge is either renovated or constructed. Additionally, toll agreements could be for up to 75 years.
Other bills in the package cover limits on affected projects, how counties approve projects, and public-private partnership tax collection.
In addition to Bay City, bascule bridges in the region are located in Alpena, Manistee, Menominee, Port Huron, and South Haven. LL