Whitmer asks feds for money to fix crumbling I-375 in Detroit

Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Photo credit Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

LANSING (WWJ) -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the federal government to provide financial support to help modernize I-375 and the I-375/I-75 interchange in Detroit.

In a letter sent on Wednesday, Whitmer urged the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to invest in the modernization project in the ongoing state effort to fix local roads and create jobs for Michiganders.

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The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted on Nov. 16, includes the very first program to reconnect communities "adversely impacted by the infrastructure design of I-375,” which created barriers to mobility and “disproportionately affected communities of color.”

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure act includes $1 billion to reconnect those communities that were divided in order to make room for freeways.

“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 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.”

Whitmer said after the passage of the infrastructure bill, local roads and bridges can be built up “the right way” across Michigan, “bringing communities together and bridging economic divides.”

Along with creating jobs, the success of this project ensures small businesses, downtowns and neighborhoods will have high-quality, reliable infrastructure to rely on.

“I look forward to working with the legislature and our federal partners to get the job done,” said Whitmer.

Whitmer said 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 freeway and build an urban boulevard with accessibility for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists, officials said.