LANSING — Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) was disappointed to learn today that the Governor plans to “pause” work on the new Caro Center Psychiatric Hospital. Work began last fall on construction of a new facility at the current location using funds approved in the 2018 budget.
“I will not play politics with the mental health of Michigan citizens,” said Hernandez, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “If the governor is serious about approaching the budget process in a bipartisan way, as she has stated, then trying to go back in time and undo previous budgets is not good way to start.”
The Legislature approved $115 million in the 2018 budget for a new psychiatric hospital at the current Caro location. After a thorough examination of the issue, it was decided the existing Caro location was the best for Michigan – especially its most vulnerable residents in need of mental health services.
Today the governor announced a plan to “pause” work on the facility and hire a consultant to “study” the issue further. Rep. Hernandez wants to ensure the governor does not intend to move the facility.
“I hope that the Governor is not simply trying to move the facility to a more politically connected area,” Hernandez continued. “Anyone with experience in the construction industry understands that construction delays greatly add to costs of any project, and this delay seems like an obvious attempt to kill the project.”
Hernandez said moving the project now would be a waste of taxpayer money.
“Construction activity has already begun, and millions of taxpayer dollars have already been spent on this project,” Hernandez said. “Changing plans this late in the game is also a slap in the face to the center’s patients, most of whom come from a bordering county or within reasonable driving distance.
“We worked long and hard on this plan for two years because we wanted to make sure we were doing what’s right for Michigan, especially those in need of vital mental health services. The governor – with her decision – told those residents they simply aren’t a priority. Her decision must not stand.”