I-75 face-lift part of a massive investment and first of its kind

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We told you about phase 1 and 2 of the I-75 modernization project. Phase 3 however has been described as "transformational" not just because of the facelift but because of how it's funded.

Here are the numbers - $630 million was put up by private investors to build the third phase of I-75. But over the course of 25 years, the state and federal government pay $1.4 billion back. So how does this work with such a massive investment and the first for Michigan of this magnitude ever.

The third phase of the I-75 modernization will be built with private money between Eight Mile and 13 Mile. 

"We knew that we did not have the money to build this in three segments," said Rob Morosi, MDOT spokesman. "It was going to spread out over nine segments, 18 years with a completion date somewhere in the neighborhood of 2034.

How does a completion date of 2023 sound instead?  By far the most expensive phase is the third part. paid for by the private sector up front.  

They get five years to build just phase three, 25 years for tax payers to pay for it, slowly. So over those 30 years, the private sector will have built and maintained I-75 in this stretch.

"Private companies are making a good return on investment I guess," said Julie Emerson. "It looks good for them, for the taxpayers it may not be as good of a deal." 

And that's the big question - is this a good deal for us, the tax payer? Every year for 25 years a little under 6 percent of our budget for roads goes to pay this back, plus interest.

When we're done paying for this down the road, the stretch of I-75 must be in good condition.

"What does good condition mean," said Morosi. "Does good condition mean that is all set at a federal level and it has to meet those standards."

FOX 2: "If it does not, would they get fines or fix it?"

"Both," Morosi said. "Fines and fix it. It is just that simple. There are a lot safeguards built in to this contract."

MDOT does not have a date when Phase 3 is set to begin but believe that there will be some design and planning that gets under way."

This is an 80/20 split - 80 percent federal investment, 20 percent state investment.