Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2021
Gov. Whitmer Requests Federal Support to Modernize I-375, I-375/I-75 Interchange
Letter to Secretary Buttigieg urges investment to reconnect communities isolated by freeway design, builds on ongoing state efforts to fix local roads, create good-paying jobs for Michigan workers
LANSING, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighting the importance of modernizing the I-375 and I-75/ I-375 Interchange in Detroit. The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes a first-ever program to reconnect communities adversely impacted by infrastructure designs like I-375 that erected barriers to mobility and opportunity and disproportionately affected communities of color.
"Right now, we have an historic opportunity to put Michiganders first and utilize the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to connect every community with safe, smooth roads and bridges," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "As we build up our roads and bridges, we also have to take a closer look at the unjust legacy of so many of our freeways, including I-375 and the I-75/ I-375 Interchange, that were built decades ago by demolishing Black neighborhoods, splitting up key economic areas, and decreasing connectivity between families, communities, and small businesses. After the passage of the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill, we can build up local roads and bridges the right way across Michigan, bringing communities together and bridging economic divides by creating thousands of good-paying jobs for Michiganders and ensuring small businesses, downtowns, and neighborhoods have high-quality, reliable infrastructure to rely on as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our state. I look forward to working with the legislature and our federal partners to get the job done."
The letter can be viewed here:
I-375 was built more than 50 years ago. During construction, prominent Black neighborhoods Black Bottom and Paradise Valley were demolished to make way for the freeway. Constructed through a thriving Hasting Street, the new I-375 opened in 1964 and created a barrier between the central business district in Detroit and the neighborhoods to the east, resulting in decades of underinvestment and a lack of opportunity for the predominantly Black communities on the other side of the freeway.
Several blocks of commercial and residential buildings were also levelled to make way for the freeway and urban renewal. Although I-375 has a number of cross-bridges, many properties declined due to reduced connectivity and especially because the community's economic and residential base was substantially dislocated.
Today, almost three generations later, Michigan has an opportunity to eliminate this obstacle and provide easier access to better jobs, services, and quality of life to the residents of adjacent areas of persistent poverty. After nearly 60 years of use, I-375, the I-75/I-375 Interchange, and associated bridges are nearing the end of their useful service life and require modernization.
The Michigan Department of Transportation and local officials including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan are collaborating on plans to take out the depressed freeway and build an urban boulevard with accessibility for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's new program can help get this done.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan
The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will send billions of dollars to Michigan to help Governor Whitmer continue fixing the damn roads, create millions of good-paying jobs, ensure small businesses can safely transport goods, expand the state's electric vehicle charging infrastructure, replace aging water infrastructure, including lead service lines, and expand high-speed internet access.
More details on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can be found here.
Roads and Bridges Background
Bipartisan Budget to Build Bridges
In September, the governor signed a bipartisan budget to repair or replace nearly 100 local bridges that are closed or in critical condition while creating 2,500 jobs. This investment will complement the work in progress under the Rebuilding Michigan program and will be further expanded on thanks to the billions the state is expected to receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The budget also delivered on kitchen-table fundamental issues that uplift communities and enable Michiganders to pursue their potential. It put 167,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to higher-education or skills training, expanded low or no-cost childcare to 105,000 kids, and made the largest one-time deposit ever of $500 million into the state's rainy day fund.
The governor's Rebuilding Michigan program is fixing the damn roads while supporting over 45,000 jobs. The $3.5 billion plan will continue rebuilding state highways and bridges that are critical to the economy and carry the most traffic without an increase at the pump. Rebuilding Michigan seeks long-term road health and improvements to the condition of the state's infrastructure. The program will help Michiganders drive their kids to school, commute to work, run errands, or go up north more safely and smoothly. Investments in roads and bridges also help small businesses get the resources they need, where they need them on time.