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The State Of Michigan Essay

2290 words - 9 pages

Michigan is the only state in the union composed to two separated peninsulas. At the closest point, the upper and lower peninsulas are a mere five miles apart. In the early twentieth century, the only way to make the trip across the five miles of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron was to take a boat ride from one side to the other. As businesses expanded and industry grew, the demand to cross the lakes for travel and commerce purposes grew. The only way to cross the lake was by means of a ferry service, which was unable to keep up with consumer demand. Michigan residents were unable to get convenient and frequent transport between the peninsulas. They needed a consistent, fast, and safe way to travel freely from the mainland to the upper-peninsula. In response, the construction of a five-mile-long suspension bridge to link the peninsulas was set into action. The construction of the Mackinac Bridge was greatly significant to the national economy, the field of engineering, the efficiency of travel, and the historic symbolism of the state of Michigan.
The first and most challenging problem associated with building the Mackinac Bridge arrived long before the bridge was even designed. Financing such an enormous project was no easy feat. In 1928, the idea of connecting the upper and lower peninsulas was proposed to Congress for the first time (Brown 4). At the time, the suspected bridge project was very much under government scrutiny and control. In fact, the initial boost in interest in pursuing the construction of a bridge came about due to the depression. The Public Works Administration (PWA) had been created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal economic plan which would fund certain construction projects with the hopes of creating employment and generating revenue cite. At about the same time in 1934, the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority was created to estimate the financial costs of building a bridge across the Straits of Mackinac (Brown 4). However, after proposing a needed sum of 35 million dollars to complete the project, the PWA denied funding (Brown 6). Even after revisions to the original plan and an endorsement of feasibility from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the project was still deemed financially impossible by the PWA (Shaul 24). The Mackinac Bridge Authority was dissolved entirely in in 1947 in light of World War II, but was re-opened to discussion in 1951 with very different plans on financing the bridge (Brown 8-9).
After multiple appeals to the state and federal governments for funding to construct the bridge, the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) worked for the next two years to determine the economic costs of building the Mackinac Bridge. In 1952, they produced a figure of 76.3 million dollars (Brown 11). This time, however, the MBA decided to stop chasing government funding and finance the bridge strictly using private bonds. Once interest was calculated, it was estimated that the MBA...

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