Are toll roads the solution to Michigan's pothole-ridden roads?

(WXYZ) - If the solution to fixing our crumbling roads means putting in toll roads, would you be on board with the idea?

Michigan lawmakers are looking at a package of bipartisan bills right now that would raise an extra $500 million a year to fix our roads. 

But an advocacy group says lawmakers are trying to sneak toll roads into the bill because some of the bill’s language calls for “the charging and collection of user fees” on roads.

Jim Walker, a member of the National Motorists Association which lobbies and opposes toll roads is fighting the bill.

"It’s not the correct way to finance roads," said Walker. "It’s an unfair burden on low income people.  The real way to finance roads is through the gas tax.”

But toll roads aren’t even being discussed by the legislature, says State Representative Marilyn Lane, the main sponsor of the bill.

"People are immediately going to the toll.  And it isn’t a state issue whether or not we could do tolls.  It’s not something we would be sneaking in," said Lane. 

She says the wording is being blown out of proportion.

"I think it was just something that we wanted to make certain everything was available.  I think the public has asked us to be efficient to make certain to use all the resources available to us before having to come out and ask for additional dollars," said Lane. 

A federal waiver is required before toll roads could be put on Michigan roads, but the Obama administration is proposing a bill that would allow states to bypass that federal waiver.
 

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