No-Interest Loan Program Approved For Houghton Roads

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) approved a $4 million no-interest loan from the Michigan State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) this week to help fund repair of flood-damaged Houghton County roads. The loan requires approval by the State Administrative Board and is scheduled to be reviewed at its July 17 meeting.

Houghton County, along with Menominee and Gogebic counties, was declared a “state of disaster” by Gov. Rick Snyder in June. Numerous roads were heavily damaged by extreme runoff and flooding following intense rain on June 16-17.

The Houghton County Road Commission would receive the funds on a five-year, no-interest term. The loan is expected to be repaid with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding. The loan will allow the road commission to expedite numerous road projects to repair flood damage. Without the SIB loan, construction will be delayed until federal aid is available.

The SIB loan program, created in 1995, has a limited amount of money for low-interest loans to accelerate the delivery of transportation projects, especially during emergency situations. The loan program is available to any Act 51 public entity (county road commissions, cities, villages, or MDOT) for eligible transportation projects. The SIB complements traditional funding techniques and serves as a tool to meet urgent project financing demands.

Gov. Snyder declared a state of disaster for Houghton and Menominee counties on June 18 and for Gogebic County on June 21 due to severe weather and widespread flooding on June 16-17, making available state aid and assistance to communities in the disaster area. By declaring a state of disaster, the State of Michigan makes available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts.