Clearing up questions on cost.
There have been a lot of questions about costs related to the proposed utility tunnel that would house a replacement for Line 5 under the Straits and rightfully so, as this is major infrastructure project in Northern Michigan. With the Mackinac Bridge Authority’s oversight, this project would provide an incredible economic boost for Northern Michigan, employee hundreds of skilled trade workers, and ensure our state’s vital, safe and well-maintained transportation infrastructure will continue to support our business needs.
So who will be paying for it? Enbridge.
The October agreement mandates that the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed utility tunnel will be fully paid for by Enbridge. The cost is estimated to be between $350 million to $500 million for construction and design of this large infrastructure project, all of which will be paid by Enbridge. No taxpayer dollars will be used for these purposes. You may have heard that separate from these costs footed by Enbridge, the state is asking for a $4.5 M Appropriation to pay for necessary independent oversight of the project. This appropriation is a fraction of the $630 million supplemental spending plan sent to lawmakers Nov. 14. As Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the Michigan State Budget Office puts it, "This money is really for the oversight of Enbridge, if you will, and the administration to make sure the project is managed to the state's satisfaction”. The appropriated funds would cover the cost of installing radar in the Straits to provide real-time wave height monitoring and cover any additional staffing needs for the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) to monitor Enbridge’s compliance. This funding would also ensure that no bridge revenues would be used for the tunnel project oversight.