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Mackinac Bridge Authority member: Line 5 tunnel plan “ill-conceived and clandestinely implemented”

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Wednesday, a State Senate committee approved a bill authorizing the Mackinac Bridge Authority to oversee a tunnel that would eventually house a replacement for Enbridge's Line 5 pipelines.

Should the Mackinac Bridge Authority be in charge of building and maintaining a utility tunnel to house replacement pipes for Enbridge's Line 5? 

Today, the Michigan Senate Government Operations Committee approved a bill that would assign the board that task. The full Senate vote will be delayed to allow time for bill sponsors and other interested parties to consider amendments.

But Barbara Brown, current board member and former vice chair for the Mackinac Bridge Authority, says that her organization should not play a role in the oversight of the utility tunnel. 

“The Mackinac Bridge is a transportation facility, and it was built to transport vehicles and goods between the two peninsulas. The purpose of the tunnel is so disparate from the purposes that the Mackinac Bridge Authority serves that it is an illogical — and I believe an inappropriate — use of the Mackinac Bridge Authority,” Brown said.

Under this bill, the Mackinac Bridge Authority would have ownership of and responsibility for maintaining and overseeing the tunnel.  But Brown says the organization does not have the kind of staff or expertise they need to do that. 

Listen to Stateside’s conversation with Barbara Brown to hear more about  who she thinks should oversee the tunnel, and what public reaction to the plan has been thus far. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post referred to Barbara Brown as the vice chair of the Mackinac Bridge Authority. She is a current board member and former vice chair of the Authority. The post has been corrected above. 

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