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Will tolls solve our road problems? Here’s How Much They’ll Cost Drivers

Will tolls solve our road problems?  Here’s How Much They’ll Cost Drivers

(WXYZ) – Lansing lawmakers are looking into a new report that suggests converting Michigan highways to toll roads could be the answer to our road problems.

The research study was put together by the Michigan Department of Transportation, HNTB, a Missouri-based engineering firm, and CDM Smith, a Boston-based engineering firm.

Experts analyzed all 31 highways in Michigan and determined that 14 could become toll roads, including large portions of Interstates 75, 94 and 96.

“Our roads are so bad, I feel like it’s a joke,” said Dana Cooper of Detroit.

Michigan’s Bad Roads – This is one of the top issues Michigan policy makers have debated for years.

“It’s one of the reasons why so many of my tires and rims have worn out,” Dana said.

Now in 2023, new potential solutions are being reviewed by Governor Whitmer and state lawmakers.

“I think it is ridiculous to impose toll as we already pay enough tax,” said a driver.

A controversial idea, the strategic plan comes from this statewide tolling study.

His research shows that Michigan could generate $1 billion a year to fix our roads by charging drivers tolls to use the nearly 1,200 miles of state highways.

Michael Black, who lives in Detroit, said, “If it works in our favor to fix the roads then fine. We have to build the roads.”

Most likely the tolls will be all electric. A sign will show users what they’re being charged and cameras will take a picture of your license plate – and send you an invoice afterwards. This reduces the need for toll booths and allows drivers to continue at highway speeds.

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State Representative Pat Outman said, “In my opinion, the biggest takeaway the study really shows is that highway tolls are viable in the state of Michigan, and that it can generate a substantial amount of money.” Home Transport Committee.

Rep. Outman will review final versions of this report and told 7 Action News that, while the state needs to be careful about putting any additional burden on drivers, the idea is “quite exciting.”

“The bottom line is that we need to continue to prioritize our road funding and with dwindling revenues in relation to electrification of vehicles, all options should be on the table,” he added.

Governor Whitmer’s team confirmed that they are reviewing the findings and that they are “committed to fixing the damaged roads and bridges.”

In one reported scenario, drivers would be charged 6 cents per highway mile — trucks could pay four times as much, and tolls would be waived for low-income drivers.

According to the report, the total program cost from 2026 to 2031 would be $8.5 billion, funded by toll revenue bonds.

After 2031, toll revenue will fund all ongoing construction, operation and maintenance in addition to debt service on the bond.

The report estimates that the state will begin the program as early as 2028 along some portions of I-94.

In order for it to pass, both Whitmer and the legislature would need to approve, Michigan hasn’t seen the road funding thing yet.

“This is one of those things where the devil is going to be in the details and we need to be very careful and diligent about how we implement something like this,” said Rep. Outman.

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