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Budget office requests funds for Straits utility tunnel

Budget office requests funds for Straits utility tunnel

PETOSKEY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- An environmental group is speaking out after the state budget office requested surplus funds to go towards the proposed Mackinac Straits Utility Tunnel Project.

Governor Snyder signed a deal with the energy company, Enbridge, to build a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac that would house the Line 5 pipeline.

The agreement was to have Enbridge pay for the construction and operation of that tunnel.

This request from the budget office includes $4.5 million to go towards what it calls support infrastructure and environmental threat mitigation projects.

It says that could include planning, oversight and legal services related to that tunnel.

The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey says money for the tunnel shouldn't come from the taxpayers.

“The taxpayers weren’t supposed to pay for any replacement, mitigation of threats, anything related to the Line 5 pipeline," said Gail Gruenwald from Tip of the Mitt. "So, it’s a bit surprising. I do understand that MDOT probably will, if this goes through with the Mackinac Bridge Authority, they probably will have costs associated with this, but those should be costs that Enbridge then pays for.”

This comes after complaints about the proposal to have the Mackinac Bridge Authority own and oversee the tunnel.

Tip of the Mitt is urging people to speak with their lawmakers about this budget proposal.

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