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      Mackinac Bridge Authority talks future projects

      The Economic Club of Marquette County heard from the Mackinac Bridge Authority Monday about the future of the historic bridge. Robert Sweeney is the Executive Secretary for the Bridge Authority. He was the guest speaker for the Economic Club's meeting.

      Sweeney talked about the economic challenges facing the bridge and a number of maintenance and construction projects. On the horizon is a nearly $200 million deck replacement for the bridge scheduled to start in 2018.

      Projects for the bridge are funded through toll revenue, something Sweeney hopes they can increase with more tourism headed to the U.P.

      "The more we do to bring people up to the U.P., especially from metropolitan areas in Detroit or Chicago or even further south, the better off we'll be with that traffic revenue coming across the bridge," said Sweeney.

      Sweeney also said this year they expect to bring in about $24 million and only have to spend $17 million. The money not spent goes into the bridge authority's fund balance to pay for future projects.