LANSING — State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) introduced House Bills 5129 and 5130 this week to create a dedicated statewide fund to build bridges over the most problematic railroad grade crossings in Michigan. The new program would allow municipalities to receive as much as 80 percent of the funding necessary in matching state grants to complete high-priority grade separation projects.

“All across Michigan, train crossings not only cause headaches as trains block the road for hours, they pose a huge threat to public safety, blocking access to hospitals, nursing homes and emergency sites,” said Camilleri. “By creating this dedicated fund to build bridges over our most problematic crossings, we have the opportunity to solve one of Michigan’s most critical transportation challenges and improve public safety Downriver and across our state.”

Inspired by a successful grade separation program in neighboring Indiana, Camilleri’s bills would set aside $50 million per year for five years to support critical grade separation projects. Priority level would be determined based on factors including average wait times; proximity to schools, hospitals, and assisted living centers; among other variables.