December 28, 2005
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed legislation that officially codifies the agreement between the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) approved by the Governor in September. The agreement and the four-bill package detail the legal relationship between the MBA and MDOT for the first time since the reorganization of state government under the 1963 Constitution.
“The Mackinac Bridge is an enduring symbol of the beauty and grandeur of Michigan’s two peninsulas,” Granholm said. “The agreement signed earlier this year and the legislation I have signed today ensure that the Mackinac Bridge Authority will continue to serve as the guardian of this precious asset.”
Under the agreement and the four bill package, the MBA will continue to exercise its traditional independent decision-making role over matters involving the bridge, including risk management, insurance, engineering, inspection, and other services related to the operation, maintenance, repair, and improvement of the Mackinac Bridge.
In addition, MDOT will continue to serve as the appointing authority for the executive secretary of the Authority after consultation with the MBA, and will work to implement decisions made by the MBA consistent with state law. The department will also provide the MBA with civil service personnel necessary for the MBA to perform its duties, assist with the purchasing of goods and services, and provide input and expertise on the state’s transportation system. The legislation also safeguards MBA funds by requiring the state treasurer to maintain the funds in a dedicated account.
"Just as the Mackinac Bridge represents an important connection between the Upper Peninsula and lower Michigan, this deal also reflects the strong partnerships that we can forge to better serve the citizens of our great state," said Representative Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard). “This legislation represents a strong endorsement by the Legislature of the Governor’s leadership in protecting the Mackinac Bridge.”
McDowell, whose district includes the Bridge and MBA headquarters, was a key advisor to the Granholm Administration in forging the agreement and developing a bipartisan compromise on legislation to codify the agreement.
Senate Bill 829 (Public Act 329) and Senate Bill 830 (Public Act 330) were sponsored by Senator Jason Allen (R-Traverse City). House Bill 5333 (Public Act 331) was sponsored by Representative Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Bellaire) and House Bill 5339 (Public Act 332) was sponsored by Representative Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba).