News Story

Another $50M in federal funds granted to fix roads affected by Edenville Dam collapse

The Edenville Dam collapse was a failure of government. The fix will be funded by taxpayers.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the terms of the Midland-Gladwin joint vote, and its tax implications. We regret the error. 

The Federal Highway Administration has granted Michigan $50 million to rebuild roads destroyed by the May 2020 collapse of the Edenville Dam, reports WJRT-TV in Flint.

“MDOT is planning to build a permanent bridge in a few years carrying M-30 over the river after the Edenville Dam is repaired,” the TV station reports. “Engineering for the new bridge will depend on river flows after the dam is rebuilt.”

With the federal grant, the price tag for the Edenville Dam collapse has now crossed the $300 million mark. With litigation still pending.

None of the pain, none of the flooding, none of the cleanup, none of the rebuilding, and none of the spending would have been necessary if government oversight had been more focused and effective.

Both the federal and state regulators had the Edenville Dam under their purview in the years before the flood. None of that oversight prevented the failure.

As Michigan Capitol Confidential reported previously, in the weeks leading up to the flood, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s focus was on mussels in the dam, not the possibility it would flood. The state’s legal complaint against Boyce Hydro mentioned “mussels” 38 times, but “flood” only once. The state argued that Boyce Hydro’s drawdown of the dam had killed millions of mussels.

In June, the county commissions of Midland and Gladwin counties voted jointly for a special assessment district for three years, and almost $4.7 million. These monies will be collected from 6,200 property owners on the four lakes affected, said Mark Justin, Gladwin County Administrator, in an email to CapCon.  

These sound like different pots of money — local, state, and federal funds, but they all have the same source: Your pocket. The only difference is which taxpayers will foot the bill.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.