ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) approved a resolution on Thursday urging lawmakers to adopt legislation that would designate the Mackinac Bridge and other structures across the state as key facilities. If adopted, the legislation would result in trespassing on any of the key facilities being classified as a felony.
Michigan Penal Code would change under House Bill 5315 through modifying the definition of a key structure to include the bridge and other large bridges and international crossing in Michigan. Tresspassing would incur a four-year felony and $2,500 fine.
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.
“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.”
Currently, trespassing on places like the Mackinac Bridge is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
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.
The Michigan 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 full resolution reads as follows:
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.