How legislation would protect Mackinac Bridge, other structures
In the wake of some troubling incidents on the Mackinac Bridge (involving people climbing a tower or otherwise accessing the bridge to take photos and another involving a bomb threat that closed the bridge on a busy weekend and disrupted travel for hours), the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill, 99 to 6, classifying the Mackinac Bridge and other vital structures as "key facilities." The designation means trespassing on the structures is a felony offense.
This week on the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, first, a conversation with the chief sponsor of House Bill 5315, State Rep. John Damoose. Later, Patrick "Shorty" Gleason, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA), explains why the MBA took the rare step of adopting a resolution in support of the legislation.
HB 5315 would add the Mackinac Bridge to the list of key facilities, as well as any movable bridge in the state: the Zilwaukee Bridge, the Rouge River Bridge, the MacArthur Bridge, and all international crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and the International Bridge.
Gleason also talks about a separate motion adopted by the Authority in opposition to Senate bills 1014 and 1078 concerning the transport of farm equipment across the bridge on I-75.
The motion reads:
"I move that the Board agree that the MBA's Bridge Director and this Board's Special Committee acted in good faith by thoroughly evaluating whether the proposed bills regarding farm implements could be modified to become bills that this Board could support. In the end, these individuals determined that the proposed bills and variations of them, if signed into law, would compromise the structural integrity and operations of the Mackinac Bridge and the safety of motorists who travel on the Bridge. They accordingly recommend, for these reasons, that the Board oppose the proposed bills or variations of them. I so move for the Board's agreement and support."