Churches Floor speech

State Rep. Jaime Churches addresses the House floor on June 14, 2023, at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

LANSING, Mich., June 15, 2023 — The House of Representatives voted in favor of House Bill 4153 and Senate Bill 125 yesterday. These bills would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create and operate a grant program for the creation of overpasses and underpasses. These passes will separate vehicle traffic from railroad traffic, increasing safety and decreasing traffic congestion.

“We cannot ignore the inconvenience and, more importantly, the public safety issues that arise from problematic train crossings,” said state Rep. Jaime Churches (D-Wyandotte), sponsor of HB 4153. “For many of our constituents, stopping at a train crossing is not just an inconvenience — it can also be a matter of life and death. Delays caused by trains can have severe consequences when every second counts during emergencies. We must ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with the needs of our growing communities, allowing for seamless movement and quick access to essential services.”

SB 125 creates the Local Grade Separation Fund, describes the specific grant  program and requires certain reports by MDOT. HB 4153 sets standards for funding prioritization and lays out certain conditions, such as proximity to specified facilities or institutions.

“These bills encourage innovation in Michigan infrastructure, and the passage of these bills demonstrate our efforts toward making mobility a priority,” said state Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights), chair of the Transportation, Mobility, and Infrastructure Committee. “This legislation would improve public safety, as it would allow EMS, police and firefighters to respond to an emergency situation more quickly, and without the tedious and sometimes detrimental delay caused by train car blockages. It is legislation like this that can change the history of Michigan society with new construction and foundational engineering for the betterment of  Michigan infrastructure.”