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Governor Signs Line 5 Legislation

Dec 14, 2018

On Wednesday, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation creating the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA). The new authority will oversee construction and operation of a tunnel in bedrock beneath the waters of the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel will house a replacement segment for the Line 5 petroleum pipelines that currently sit on the bottom of the Straits and will accommodate other utilities to improve infrastructure connections between the peninsulas. The MSCA will be separate and independent from the Mackinac Bridge Authority. They will provide annual reports on the construction process and utility leasing to the MBA and the Michigan Department of Transportation director. Additionally, the law creates a Straits Utility Fund to pay for the work for the MSCA, including independent experts to ensure construction and operation of the tunnel are done correctly.

The newly signed law requires the MSCA to enter into an a greement with Enbridge on the construction and operation of a Straits utility tunnel by December 31, 2018, providing certain conditions are met.

The proposed new agreement must:

  • Include a plan for recruiting, training, and using Michigan workers for the tunnel project;
  • Allow for multiple utilities to use the tunnel;
  • Provide that the tunnel is built to last and will contain potential oil spills in the Straits of Mackinac;
  • Limit liability for the state, the authority, and members of the authority;
  • Require that all necessary government approvals be obtained for the tunnel;
  • Prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the project;
  • Ensure the state bears no cost for design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel;
  • Ensure that any privately owned portion of the project – including the above-ground entrances and any utility lines within the tunnel – are subject to taxation; and
  • Reimburse the MBA for any net loss of profit for leasing space for telecommunication lines

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