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PAYING A TOLL? Inside a House Bill that could help fund road repairs

Posted at 6:17 AM, Jul 09, 2024
  • State House Representatives are looking to implement a bridge tolling enforcement program to pick up on lost revenue from unpaid tolls.
  • The bridge tolling enforcement program is one step of many towards possibly implementing statewide tolls to fund roadway projects.
  • Video shows why it may be important than ever to pay those fines when they come in the mail.

While drivers in our neighborhoods may need to navigate construction zones, they don't need to pay a toll. At least, not right now.
From one orange barrel to the next, one project to another, fixing the roadways requires money. Lots of it...

"We need over 4 billion dollars more annually for our road and bridge system in Michigan."

Lance Binoniemi and the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Authority have been tracking how state lawmakers may come up with those dollars.

WATCH INTERVIEW WITH LANCE BINONIEMI OF MITA

Interview with Lance Binoniemi of MITA

Those legislators have proposed the Michigan Statewide Tolling Study to look at the feasibility of fees, to help fund the roads, to everyone driving in Michigan.

"We have a lot of commercial traffic that we could collect user fees from had we implemented tolls in Michigan."

And House Bill 5733 would take a hard stance to make sure people pay them.

The bill would implement a bridge tolling enforcement program that would help collect unpaid tolls by giving the Secretary of State the ability to deny people their license or registrations until they pay.

Not everyone is in favor.

"We are a car state," Melissa Horste of the Michigan Department of State. "Michiganders rely heavily on their cars to get to and from work and support their families. When folks lose their ability to drive, because of fees and fines, they can lose their livelihood and their means to pay those fees and fines."

The Department of State also said that because the state does not have a tolling authority to hold private operators accountable, due process for car owners could be lost.

In a statement they want to quote "continue discussions with our legislative partners about how this bill can be improved to ensure all Michigan drivers are treated fairly."

But Binoniemi says the revenue is important if we want the roads to be fixed... one way or another.

"Any ability for the state to collect more revenue for our transportation system as it's clearly needed."

The bill has been referred the transportation committee in the senate.

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