Reports: Michigan Republicans order MDOT to study feasbility of toll roads

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LANSING (WJRT) (6/14/2019) - The transportation budget that passed the Republican-led Michigan House on Thursday includes a provision to study the feasibility of instituting toll roads.

WDIV is reporting the concept came from Rep. Ann Bollin, a Republican from Brighton. She wants to see whether charging tolls would be a reliable funding source for Michigan roads.

The Michigan Department of Transportation would be tasked with completing the feasibility study and reporting its findings to the Legislature.

Tolls roads in 35 others states, including Michigan's neighbors Indiana and Ohio, raise much needed funding for road repair, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan has looked at toll roads in the past, but federal laws prevent interstate freeways built with federal money from becoming toll roads. The tourism industry also has concerns about travelers avoiding the state.

The budget bill also includes a provision that would shift sales tax charged on gasoline to roads.

Republicans say the shift is a response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's call for higher fuel taxes to fund road repairs. Democrats point out the shift would take money away from schools.

The transportation budget bill now goes to the Michigan Senate for consideration. It would have to pass there and receive Whitmer's signature to become law.