Now is the Time to Get to Work

Posted in Blog on September 26, 2018

UPDATE (9/27/2018): We just received word that a short term agreement has been reached to end the road construction work stoppage. This is good news. We will share more as we learn more about the progress of the Zeeland Interchange Project. 

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Since September 4, work has stopped or delayed more than 200 road construction projects across Michigan as a result of the dispute between the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) and the Operating Engineers Local 324.   This situation has brought to a halt the tremendous progress on many projects in our community, including the Zeeland Gateway Interchange project.

To bring this $7.6 million gateway project to a reality, it took a collaborative approach involving multiple local units of government, state leaders and more than 20 private sector employers. As with so many impactful community projects, this effort was led by some of our anchor employers, in this case Gentex, Zeeland Farm Services and Herman Miller.  As “construction season” nears an end, completion of this project and many others are in jeopardy. 

Governor Snyder has worked hard to put an end to this dispute.  Michigan needs both sides to come to the mediation table. This disagreement has the ability to significantly impact taxpayers and motorists across the state. In addition, thousands of hard-working construction professionals are currently on voluntary lay-off.  With no end in sight, these construction projects are now on hold indefinitely.

If these projects are not finished by the end of the November, it will take additional tax payer dollars to maintain these unfinished projects this winter. This will continue to put strain on motorist and partially completed roads.  What’s more these projects could become even more costly if not completed this year.

We encourage these parties to come to the table and resolve this issue. Take the partnership approach as our community demonstrated with the Zeeland Gateway Interchange project.  Refusing to work toward a solution has a dramatic impact on our region and all taxpayers in the state of Michigan.

- Jennifer Owens, president, Lakeshore Advantage