Dykema Gossett PLLC

Infrastructure Law and Policy

Infrastructure Law and Policy

Infrastructure Law and Policy

News and analysis focusing on the full spectrum of infrastructure-related issues facing state and local governments, including developments in legislation, policies, and projects

State of Michigan Pledges $50 Million for Soo Locks Upgrade

At last week’s Mackinac Policy Conference, Governor Snyder and leaders of both legislative chambers pledged $50 million in infrastructure funding to aid in the much-needed renovations of the Soo Locks. This state funding commitment is the first of its kind.

The announcement comes just weeks after President Trump voiced his support for the Soo Locks Modernization Project while at a campaign rally in Washington Township, Michigan. Read More ›

Michigan Legislators Introduce Soo Locks Modernization Act

Recent events at the federal level indicate that the Soo Locks Modernization Project may soon take a giant leap forward.

At this month’s Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference, members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation announced plans to introduce legislation to finance improvements to the Soo Locks. The Soo Locks Modernization Act, sponsored by Sen. Stabenow and Rep. Jack Bergman, would direct the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out construction of a second large lock to supplement the aging Poe Lock. As we have previously noted, the Poe Lock is currently the only lock able to handle the 1,000-foot freighters commonly used on the Great Lakes. The total cost of the project has been pegged at nearly $1 billion (subject to adjustments for construction cost fluctuations). According to Sen. Peters, passage of the bill “will allow the Army Corps to move directly into the design and construction phase.” Read More ›

“MiThrive” Passes the House

On April 27, 2017, the 2017 “MiThrive” legislation (Senate Bills 111, 112, 113, 114 and 115) amending the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act, Act 381 of 1996, which would allow for Transformational Brownfield Redevelopment Plans, was voted out of the House Tax Policy Committee. Read More ›

TIF on Steroids Makes a Move in the House

On February 24, 2017, a legislative summary and analysis was posted stating, “Michigan ‘TIF on Steroids’ is back” and that the fate of the 2017 legislation (Senate Bills 111, 112, 113, 114 and 115) providing for Transformational Brownfield Redevelopment Plans rested with the House Tax Policy Committee.

Yesterday, April 26, 2017, on a 10-3 vote (six Republicans / four Democrats in favor, and three Republicans opposed), the legislation was reported out of the House Tax Policy Committee. It is up to the full House to decide what happens next, but this is further progress than what happened to previous similar legislation during the 2016 lame duck session. Read More ›

Michigan “TIF on Steroids” is Back

Michigan “TIF on Steroids” is back. Infrastructure, and the financing of it, have become hot topics both in Michigan and nationally.

On December, 1, 2016 information was contributed about legislation expanding tax increment financing pursuant to Act 381 of 1996 for large “transformational” projects. Those bills did not pass in lame duck. Almost identical legislation was introduced on February 7 as Senate Bills 111, 112, 113, 114 and 115. These bills were reported out of Committee on February 21 and passed the State Senate on February 22. They were received by the State House and referred to the Committee on Tax Policy on February 23. Read More ›

Future Bright for Soo Locks Modernization Project

For the second year in a row, Governor Rick Snyder has listed the proposed Soo Locks Modernization Project as a top priority in his State of the State address. Michigan’s top executive stated that he would urge President Donald Trump and Congress to commit to funding a second 1,000-foot lock in Sault Saint Marie. In support of his request, Snyder cites two reports: one on security issues and the other on the potential economic impact of the proposed renovations. Read More ›

Observations of Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report

On December 5, 2016, Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission[1] released its report which outlines a need for as much as $60-80 billion in funding from various sources over the next 20 years ($4 billion per year). The entire report can be viewed at the link below. This entry serves only to highlight certain aspects of the report and some of the various funding sources contemplated.  Read More ›

“TIF On Steroids” and Other Incentives Making Their Way Through Michigan Legislature

A group of bills (SB 1061, 1062, 1063, 1064 and 1065) have passed the Michigan State Senate and will now be taken up in the Michigan House. The amendments, affectionately called “TIF on steroids” by some, would expand current tax increment finance legislation in Act 381 of 1996 (the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act), to include the return of certain sales and use taxes and income taxes associated with a Transformational Brownfield Plan (“TBP”) to an owner or developer. Presently, Act 381 only allows for the capture of certain ad valorem taxes and specific, redevelopment—or rehabilitation—purposed taxes. Senate Bill 1061 contains the material amendments. Read More ›

Snyder Urges Congress to Fund Soo Lock Upgrades

Last week, Governor Snyder wrote Michigan's congressional delegation to stress the importance of fully funding upgrades to the Soo Locks. Snyder urged Congress to replace the Davis and Sabin Locks with a single, larger lock that would provide redundancy should the Poe Lock fail. The Poe Lock is currently the only lock capable of handling the 1,000-foot freighters used to transport raw materials like iron ore. Snyder’s letter describes the predicted fallout of a temporary shutdown: Read More ›

Michigan Governor Gives Directive to State Transportation Department

On May 12th, Governor Snyder issued Executive Directive No. 2016-1 (“ED 2016-1”), which seeks to improve infrastructure in the State by utilizing the Michigan Department of Transportation (“MDOT”) in multiple ways. ED 2016-1 requires MDOT to work with a number of agencies, including coordinating with: Read More ›