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Would bills subsidize businesses with your tax dollars meant for the roads?

Posted: 7:32 PM, Nov 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-09 00:33:51Z

We know that tax dollars for roads that help you get around metro Detroit are both limited and important.

The Oakland County Road Commission is taking a stand, warning there are two bills lawmakers are looking at in this lame duck session that could take road dollars and use them to subsidize companies.

One proposed legislation issue is Senate Bill 637. It would allow cell phone companies to put wireless equipment up on traffic light poles, improving your cell service. However, the Oakland County Road Commission says it comes at a cost.

Right now Oakland County charges one cellular company about $250,000 a year to use about 250 locations. Senate Bill 637 would limit road commissions fees to $20 a year per location. The Oakland County Road Commission says that doesn’t cover the cost of inspections needed to insure equipment is installed safely.

“We are not opposed to the companies doing this, but let us recoup our cost,” said Craig Bryson, of the Oakland County Road Commission. “Don’t force us to subsidize multi-million for profit companies with our scarce road dollars.”

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Joe Hune of Hamburg Township, says the public will benefit from faster internet that will make autonomous vehicles possible.

“But what is important for the outlay and full rollout of autonomous vehicles is the ability for these cars to communicate with internet service,” Hune said.

The piece of legislation is Senate Bill 396. It would allow timber companies to ignore seasonal load restrictions.

"It is sponsored by Sen. Casperson from the U.P., who has a family that is in the lumber business,” said Craig Bryson. “So it would seem to be self-serving.”

The Senator behind it says it is about the community. It will create jobs in Grayling.

“It was going to create 300 very good paying jobs, plus the spin-off that goes with it, which is a really huge shot in the arm for that area,” said Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Upper Peninsula.

If you have a strong opinion about either one of these bills, now is the time to contact your legislator.