Bill could provide relief to Bay City for bridge operations - WNEM TV 5

Bill could provide relief to Bay City for bridge operations

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A pair of draw bridges are a staple in one Mid-Michigan city, but the cost to keep them operational is pinching the pockets of taxpayers.

Bay City is responsible for the upkeep of its draw bridges, taking money from its roads fund to cover the costs. A new bill in Lansing could cover some of the relief.

The Liberty and Independence Bridge in Bay City are well traveled and iconic structures in the city, but they're also expensive for the local government. The city is responsible for covering the costs to operate the two bridges.

"When we pay for them we take care of them, operate them, pay for the people that are in them. Just that cost is $500,000 to $600,000 a year. That comes out of our street fund from the state," City Manager Rick Finn said.

Finn said many of the people who use the bridges don't live in the city.

"Probably only 15 to 20 percent of the people using the bridge are city residents," he said.

Under a bill proposed by State Senator Mike Green, the state would refund operation costs for cities with movable bridges.

"I believe there's 12 bridges like this run by local governments. So there's other cities besides us, but were the only city that owns two," Finn said.

About a fourth of state funding for local roads in Bay City goes to the bridges. If the bill passes it could provide some big relief to the city.

"We are cautiously optimistic. This is the furthest it's gotten and it would mean more money going back into our street rehab program," Finn said.

The measure passed the state senate and is now working it's way through the house.

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