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Brighton lawmaker asks state to consider toll roads in Michigan

Posted at 6:06 AM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 06:40:46-04

(WXYZ) — Experts say it will take billions of dollars every year for the next 20 years to fix every crumbling road and bridge in Michigan.

So here's one solution: a Brighton lawmaker is asking the state to invest in toll roads to pay for Michigan's massive infrastructure costs.

In the 1950s, our state legislators decided against making I-75 a toll road, despite 35 other states having them. Now, Rep. Ann Bollin (R) of Brighton is asking the state to consider it again.

Governor Whitmer's budget plan calls for increasing the gas tax by 45 cents, but Rep. Bollin says that won't be enough. While Bollin's proposal doesn't require toll roads, it does require MDOT to investigate whether toll roads would be worth the investment.

"This amendment would require the Michigan Department of Transportation to conduct an in-depth analysis on the potential for toll roads here in Michigan, including: what would it take, what are the federal guidelines, timeline, opportunities and if it might be to an advantage to Michigan to help fix our roads,” Bollin said.

"One of the downsides when you talk about infrastructure is we are a destination state, Unlike Ohio or Pennsylvania or Illinois, people don't cut through Michigan to get somewhere else, so as we cut through Ohio on our way to Florida or wherever we're headed, they're on a position to get out-of-staters to pay for part of the roads."

Whitmer says toll roads would really just tax us, and the funds would go into the general fund, meaning they're not guaranteed to fix the roads.

Her tax increase and Bollin’s toll proposal are both in the House-approved budget. It now goes before the Senate.