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Coalition calls for community benefits in bridge project

Snyder administration
Gov. Rick Snyder supports a publicly owned bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor

A coalition of labor and business groups wants to guarantee certain benefits for the community near a planned bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

They’re called community benefits agreements, and they’re intended to make sure the neighborhoods that host major construction projects see things like jobs and parks – and not just pollution and traffic.

State Representative Rashida Tlaib’s district includes the site of a proposed new publicly owned bridge. She’s introduced legislation that would require the project to include a community benefits agreement:

"If we’re going to host this large transportation infrastructure project, we want to make sure that we also revitalize the area – protect the communities that are going to have to live with it. In this instance, this bridge is going to be in our back yard for 150 years."

It’s estimated that close to 700 residents, more than 40 businesses and five churches would have to be relocated if the bridge project proceeds.

Governor Rick Snyder has been pushing for the new bridge – but he’s met resistance in the Republican-led Legislature.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.