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Mackinac Bridge Authority resolution supports key facility designation, felony for trespassing
July 21, 2022
ST. IGNACE, Mich. - In an effort to protect the Mackinac Bridge and other vital structures across the state, the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) today approved a resolution urging lawmakers to adopt legislation that classifies the structures as key facilities. The designations mean trespassing on the facilities would be a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
House Bill 5315 would modify the definition of a “key facility” in the Michigan Penal Code to include the Mackinac Bridge and other large bridges and international crossings in the state, which would make it a four-year felony to trespass beyond physical barriers and posted signs at those facilities. The House of Representatives passed the bill in February on a 99-6 vote.
The MBA passed a resolution in support of the bill at its meeting today on Mackinac Island. A recording of the meeting is available to view online on YouTube.
"The Mackinac Bridge is certainly a public facility, given that millions have traveled across it in the past 65 years, but it's also a key facility that joins Michigan's peninsulas for tourism and commerce," said MBA Chairman Patrick "Shorty" Gleason. "Trespassing on the areas closed to the public - the towers, the cables, and the structure beneath the bridge deck - presents a security risk to our employees and travelers, and this bill will help deter anyone who would introduce that danger."
Michigan’s Penal Code Section 750.552c currently identifies "key facilities" to include chemical manufacturing, refinery, electric utilities, water intake or water treatment, natural gas, fuel storage, pulp and paper manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, hazardous waste, and telecommunication facilities. Any person violating that section is guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Currently, large bridges such as the Mackinac Bridge are not included in the list of key facilities for trespassing. Generally, trespassing is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
HB 5315 would add the Mackinac Bridge to the list of key facilities, as well as any movable bridge in the state: the Zilwaukee Bridge, the Rouge River Bridge, the MacArthur Bridge, and all international crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and the International Bridge.
In full, the resolution reads:
WHEREAS, The Mackinac Bridge Authority is committed to preserve and maintain the State of Michigan’s single largest asset and one of the world’s leading suspension bridges to provide safe, pleasurable, and expedient passage over the Straits of Mackinac for economic benefit and improved quality of life; and
WHEREAS, trespassing on the Mackinac Bridge represents a security risk for bridge operations and the traveling public; and
WHEREAS, trespassing on the Mackinac Bridge is dangerous to patrons crossing the bridge as well as to the trespasser; and
WHEREAS, the Mackinac Bridge is a key facility in the State of Michigan and is a critical connection point between the two peninsulas of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, trespassers on the Mackinac Bridge should be held accountable for the very serious nature of their offense; and now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that we, the undersigned members of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, strongly support HB 5315, which makes the Mackinac Bridge and other facilities in the State of Michigan key facilities and defines trespassing on these key facilities as a felony offense.
Adopted by the Mackinac Bridge Authority on July 21, 2022.