Government and Politics
September 26, 2022From: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Connecting US-31 to I-94 will save drivers time, keep them safer on the road, and lower costs
Benton Harbor, MI. –?On Sep 26th, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Representative Fred Upton celebrated the completion of the US-31 project in Berrien County linking the highway to I-94. For decades, the project was stalled, but is now getting done because of the governor’s $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan Plan and funding secured by Rep. Upton in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Connecting US-31 to I-94 will save drivers time, keep them safer on the road, and lower their costs,” said Governor Whitmer. “After decades of delay, we are getting this critical Southwest Michigan project done without raising taxes because of Congressman Upton’s efforts to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and my $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan Plan, which focuses on fixing economically critical state roads and bridges. Since I took office through the end of this year, Michigan will have fixed 16,000 lane miles of road and 1,200 bridges, supporting 89,000 jobs. I will work with anyone to keep fixing the damn roads because it makes a real difference in people’s lives by saving them time, keeping them safe, and lowering their costs.”
“The story of US-31 is one of persistence,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R, MI-06). “For some 50 years it persisted as a problem and for 50 years we persisted in trying to solve it. Today, after long efforts by folks in the community, state and at the federal level, we can finally celebrate the opening of this road and the end of the persistent headaches created when it was not completed. I still have a bumper sticker that says ‘Pray for Me … I drive on US-31.’ Today, our prayers have been answered.”
“I want to thank the community members who have been more than patient as MDOT officials battled so many obstacles to fund and complete this vital corridor,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “I also want to acknowledge the generations of MDOT staff members who worked steadfastly to make today a reality. I appreciate their diligence and I also want to recognize Gov. Whitmer for her vision with the Rebuilding Michigan plan, which helped get this project over the finish line.”
“Drivers across the region will surely be thankful to see this decades-long project finally reach completion,” said Senator Kim LaSata (R-Coloma). “The connection between U.S. 31 and I-94 has been in the works far beyond my time in the Legislature and it’s great to see all of the efforts from previous lawmakers, administrations and state and local officials finally coming to fruition."
The new, direct connection between US-31 and I-94 will save drivers three minutes per trip by reducing time-consuming merges and resulting traffic. More than 17,000 drivers get from US-31 to I-94 every day, and three minutes per trip adds up to over 35 days' worth of time saved every single day.
This project will help reduce the risk of crashes. Thanks to this project, drivers will no longer have to navigate interchanges with local roads. Instead, they can stay on the freeway, seamlessly reaching their destination.
Finally, the project will lower costs. All the slowing down, stopping, turning, and accelerating resulting from exiting and merging onto this freeway uses an estimated 125,000 gallons of gas a year. That’s worth roughly $470,000 dollars based on recent gas prices, back in people’s pockets.
Rebuilding Michigan’s Roads and Bridges???
By the end of 2022, Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist will have fixed, repaired, or replaced more than 16,000 lane miles of road and 1,200 bridges, supporting more than 89,000 jobs without raising taxes by a dime. These and future repairs are made possible by the Rebuilding Michigan plan, a five-year, $3.5 billion investment in our highways and bridges, and the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan, the largest one-time investment in Michigan's infrastructure in state history. These strategic investments in Michigan's infrastructure ensure that future Michiganders will have safer roads and bridges to run errands, travel, and strengthen the economy.??
Learn more about the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration’s historic infrastructure investments by clicking on the following link: Infrastructure Accomplishments.??
Infrastructure Investments in the FY 2023 Budget??
Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist’s fourth balanced and bipartisan budget expands on the investments in the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan signed in April by speeding up replacement of lead service lines, reducing traffic congestion at local rail crossings, improving state fish hatcheries, and funding long-overdue maintenance projects at state facilities.?