Skubick: $90M for Capitol parking ramp and visitor center could be tough sell

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan lawmakers are about to decide whether to build an underground parking ramp in back of the State Capitol and a new visitor center as well.

On the outside the State Capitol looks great.

But in the bowels of the Capitol the infrastructure is rotting and it appears lawmakers are ready to spend upwards of $70 million to repair it.

But the Lansing Board of Water and Light does not want the state to convert to a geo-thermo energy system which means the board loses a major utility customer.

No decision has been made on that and Lansing mayoral candidate Andy Schor says he wants to know whose data is right on the projected savings, if any. “If the data shows the state is going to save money over time, then yeah, I would be very willing to support it.”

But the board opposes that. “The board says the data is not going to show that,” explains Schor.

Another controversial aspect is the proposal to build a visitor center at a cost of $60 million.

Add underground parking in back of the capitol at another $30 million.

Rep. Schor supports both projects but Democrat State Rep. Tom Cochran leans “no” on the underground parking.

“I probably would be a no. The visitor center we have to take a look at.”

He calls it a great opportunity.

But the Republican chair who is working on the project says he can’t defend that. Rep. Larry Inman laughs when he says “I think that’s a luxury that people see government as having challenges now funding various stated services. I don’t want to go back to my district and explain $30 million for a parking structure.”

A vote to resolve all this is due soon.

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