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Industry News, Meetings & Events

Michigan Legislative Update

Week of March 9, 2017

By Judy Augenstein

SB 97, legislation to create Public Private Partnership, sponsored by Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake is on a "fast track" at the request of governor Rick Snyder.  the bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting debate by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The measure creates a framework for toll booths on roads sold by private companies.  We continue to oppose the bill as we did last session.

Governor Rick Snyder has submitted nine projects as priorities for federal funding as President Donald Trump continues to discuss the need for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan.  

The list includes:

1) A new lock at Sault Ste. Marie to replace the aging Poe lock.
2) Construction of a 350 plus acre proving ground for testing, development and validation of autonomous vehicles.
3) Replacement of the collapsed sewage interceptor in Fraser that created a massive sinkhole.
4) Funding the replacement of lead pipes nationally, in a nod to the flint water crisis.
5)The long-sought expansion of the Blue Water Bridge Customs Plaza at Port Huron.
6) Construction of a new lock and channel with electric barriers in Illinois to protect the Great Lakes basin from aquatic nuisance species.
7) Paying for the new customs plaza at the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Detroit.
8) The M-1 Rail project, also known as the QLine, in Detroit.
9) Funding national broadbrand infrastructure.

Governor Snyder commented, "It is very encouraging to see President Trump working with governors from across the nation to identify investments in infrastructure that will have the most impact on ensuring a robust economy and a greater quality of life for residents.  This is one of the best working relationships Congress and a presidential administration have had with governors in a long time.

 

This week the Department of State Police announced weight restrictions will be lifted from the southern Michigan border north to and including US-12 at the Michigan/Indiana border east of I-94 in Berrien County then north and east to I-69 in Calhoun County then north on I-69 to Lansing and continuing on I-69 east to Port Huron.  Frost restrictions are still in effect for the remainder of the state and will be imposed and enforced on all state trunkline highways north of the US-12, I-94, I-69 line. State trunkline highways typically carry M, I or US designations, the department said in a statement. 

The House of Representatives is considering legislation to expand the Freedom of Information Act to the Executive Office and creating the Legislative Open Records Act to make some public some legislative communications.  House leadership contends that if transparency is good for local government to ensure accountability, it is reasonable that the Legislature and Office of the Governor do the same.  The 10 bill package will receive stiff opposition when they reach the Senate for consideration as the Senate Majority Leader opposes the bills.

This week the House Natural Resources Committee met to receive a presentation by the Nature Conservancy of Michigan and a presentation by the Michigan Environmental Council.  The House Transportation & Infrastructure did not meet. The Senate Natural Resources Committee did not meet.  The Senate Transportation met to discuss fundraising license plates, lights on emergency vehicles and gross vehicle weight limits for natural gas vehicles.


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