Public Sector

Citizens cannot do their job of running their government if they don’t know what their public servants are doing. Bridge will take you beyond the political food fights into the policy decisions that affect everyday life.


Grand Rapids comes out of the sewer

March 22, 2016 | Pat Shellenbarger

Grand Rapids used to tremble when heavy rains fell since downpours often meant nasty sewer overflows. Today, the city rests easier after investing in a long-term upgrade that reduces the odds that raw sewage will flood river waters.

In replacing lead lines, what Michigan can learn from Wisconsin

March 22, 2016 | Ted Roelofs

Madison, Wisconsin, the nation’s first city to replace all lead service lines, discovered that to keep residents safe it had to replace all lines, not just part of them.

Flint’s legacy may include dramatic expansion of public records law

March 15, 2016 | Mike Wilkinson

Questions about the state’s bungled response to Flint’s water crisis have led to a bipartisan push to make the governor’s office and legislature subject to the state’s public records law. Michigan now ranks at the bottom for government transparency.

Michigan primary delivers one big surprise

March 9, 2016 | Bridge Staff

Bridge breaks it down by party and county, in two interactive maps

Sticking with your own kind: tribalism in politics

March 3, 2016 | Nancy Derringer

We all tend to vote for one party over another. But we also are more likely to live, love and troll among fellow travelers.

Michigan’s aging voting machines a 'catastrophe waiting to happen’

March 3, 2016 | Ron French

Scrounging for used parts on the Internet, Michigan clerks say it’s time for new election equipment, if the state will pay for it.

How Snyder’s chief of staff wrestled with Flint, with few victories

March 2, 2016 | John Bebow

Dennis Muchmore’s deep experience as the governor’s point man did not translate into solutions for Flint’s water crisis. A year in emails.

The latest on what key Snyder aides knew about Flint and when

March 1, 2016 | Bridge Staff

The release of additional Snyder administration emails reveals yet more aides to the governor who were alert to potential dangers in Flint’s water long before emergency measures were taken.

Three ways Snyder emails may foretell Michigan’s future

March 1, 2016 | John Bebow

Snyder administration emails on the handling of the Flint water crisis point to some big policy decisions facing the state.

After decades of failure, will metro Detroit pass mass transit this year?

February 23, 2016 | Nancy Derringer

Southeast Michigan has tried, and failed, to craft a functional public-transit system that works – many times. Leaders hope the RTA’s master plan, to be revealed this spring, will turn the tide

In Cleveland, they built it, and riders came, along with a whole lot more

February 23, 2016 | Nancy Derringer

The lessons of Cleveland’s HealthLine bus rapid transit are many, including the need for wide community support for the project to succeed. But officials say the return on investment has been worth it

Before Flint, a Detroit-area water warning system was allowed to crumble

February 16, 2016 | Chad Selweski

A state-of-the-art water contaminant warning system protected more than 4 million people in southeast Michigan. But a few years back, communities began to pull out of the network, to save money. After Flint, was that a mistake?

What Flint lost

February 16, 2016 | Chastity Pratt

After more than a year of misinformation, Flint residents say they can no longer trust anything the government tells them. Paranoia? Or history?

Signs of trouble at MDEQ, years before Flint lead crisis

February 10, 2016 | Ted Roelofs

A 2010 federal audit expressed concern about shortcuts Michigan’s drinking water safety program was taking to save money. An expert testifying before Congress today concludes from the audit that water safety regulation in Michigan is “more broken than we think.

Snyder urges state to approve $28 million for Flint water crisis

January 21, 2016 | Lindsay VanHulle

Gov. Rick Snyder used his State of the State speech to personally apologize for government’s failure to protect Flint residents from lead-poisoned drinking water, and pledge long-term support for those impacted

City blues: MSU study finds state tax policies cripple cities

November 17, 2015 | Ted Roelofs

Even as Michigan's economy grows, cities struggle against tax limits that a study concludes help choke their recovery.

Poll: Michigan voters strongly favor state prison reform

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

Voters back bipartisan efforts to lower Michigan’s prison population, in part by helping prisoners get job training so they can support themselves and are less likely to return to prison.

‘Clean slate’ law for offenders could be boon for business

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

A bill being introduced in Lansing would wipe criminal records for those nonviolent offenders who stay out of trouble, making it easier for them to get jobs.

Michigan prison reform gaining momentum in fall session

September 24, 2015 | Ron French

A measure that would make it easier for inmates to gain earlier release could be the first of several bills to reduce the state’s prison population.

Environmental groups see route to block Michigan highway expansion

September 3, 2015 | Andy Balaskovitz

Watchdog groups accuse MDOT of relying on outdated projections of traffic volume to justify expensive expansion projects. Federal courts have ruled in favor of such groups in other states.