Representative supports plan forming new tunnel oversight panel
State Rep. Joe Bellino said a plan approved today in the Michigan House with bipartisan support is a key step toward energy security for Michigan residents and the creation of thousands of jobs for Michigan workers.
Bellino, of Monroe, said agreements with Enbridge Energy to build a multi-use utility tunnel will allow for the decommissioning of the current Line 5 segment in the Straits and greatly reduce the risk of an oil spill between Michigan’s peninsulas. It will also provide energy security for Michigan families and businesses.
“The Great Lakes are critical to our economy and way of life in Michigan. Ensuring families and businesses have access to safe, reliable energy is also essential,” said Bellino, a member of the House Energy Policy Committee. “This solution makes Line 5 safer while it continues to deliver resources to heat Michigan homes and power our economic growth.”
The plan laid out in Senate Bill 1197 creates a new, independent authority to provide oversight and take ownership of the proposed tunnel. The new body will be called the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority.
Bellino said Enbridge, not taxpayers, will pay for 100 percent of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel. Once the company reaches an agreement with the newly created Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, the authority would own the tunnel and provide proper oversight, including a public, transparent process for ongoing operation of the tunnel.
“The tunnel project will put people to work, protect our natural resources and heat Michigan homes and businesses – and taxpayers won’t pay a dime for the construction,” Bellino said. “This is a win-win-win for Michigan families, workers and businesses.”