Are toll roads coming to Michigan?

January 31, 2020

Keith Goble

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The possibility of tolls being collected on certain Michigan roadways has taken a step closer to becoming reality.

Michigan currently collects tolls on bridges that include the Mackinac Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge, and the International Bridge.

State senators voted to 31-7 this week to advance a bill to create a panel to investigate the feasibility of charging tolls for roads and bridges. It now heads to the House.

Sponsored by Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek, SB517 calls for state officials to hire an independent consulting firm to study the feasibility of collecting tolls on interstates.

Consideration would be given to the economic impact of toll roads, providing discounts to in-state drivers, toll amounts, and how to pay for the toll. The impact of tolls on out-of-state operators expected to use Michigan interstates would also be considered.

A written report on the firm’s findings would be provided to state officials within 18 months of the bill’s effective date. At that time, the governor would be permitted to move forward with a “strategic plan” to implement tolls.

The plan would include applying to the Federal Highway Administration for a waiver to add tolls on federal interstates.

SB517 awaits consideration in the House Transportation Committee.

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OOIDA opposes toll road plans

Truckers in the state, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, say that professional drivers already pay multiple taxes and fees to access Michigan roadways.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA president and CEO, says the Association “fundamentally opposes toll roads.” He adds that “toll roads are more egregious when they are proposed for existing highway capacity.”

Additionally, Spencer has said if any state approves adding tolls to federally funded roadways his group and other entities would oppose the effort in Washington, D.C.

More Land Line coverage of news from Michigan is available.

 

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.