Michigan House considers truck bridge toll, miles traveled tax

June 21, 2019

Keith Goble

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A bill package introduced by Michigan House Democrats targets truck drivers to fund improvements roads and bridges throughout the state.

The first bill, HB4779, would create a vehicle miles traveled tax of 6 cents per mile on trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or more.

The second bill, HB4780, would create a bridge toll program specifically for trucks, similar to a program in Rhode Island. Last June, Rhode Island opened the first two of 12 planned truck-only toll gantries. The American Trucking Associations and three motor carriers are suing the RIDOT claiming tolls targeting truckers are unconstitutional.

“(Michigan residents) want everyone to pay their share for the infrastructure we all use,” House Democratic Leader Christine Greig of Farmington Hills said in prepared remarks. “They want accountability for those that cause the most damage to our roads.”

She added that businesses that benefit from good roads should contribute directly to repairs.

Two other bills in the four-bill package, HB4781 and HB4782, would raise corporate income tax rates by 2.5% and would create a dedicated fund for the money from those tax increases and the VMT to be used specifically for roads.

The bills await assignment to a House committee.

Other funding options from Michigan officials

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a 45-cent fuel tax increase to fund roadwork. She says the state needs more than $2 billion annually for road needs.

House Republicans are calling for swapping the sales tax now collected on fuel purchases for an additional fuel tax. They say the switch would increase road funding by more than $800 million per year once fully implemented.

Senate lawmakers would fund road work by putting an additional $132 million into local roads.

OOIDA

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes increasing the fuel tax is the most equitable way to generate additional revenue.

OOIDA and our members aren’t generally opposed to reasonable fuel tax increases,” said OOIDA Manager of Government Affairs Mike Matousek. “It’s the most equitable way to collect revenue to support our nation’s roads and bridges.”

He added that “it is also much better than alternatives such as tolling and VMT taxes.

“However, revenue generated from fuel taxes must be spent on the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, and not diverted to non-transportation projects. If a legislative proposal doesn’t meet this standard, there’s simply no way we’ll support it. In fact, we’ll aggressively oppose it.”

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.

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