MI Senate votes to require study of highway tolls

Michigan
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate voted Tuesday to require that a study be done to assess the feasibility of tolls along the state’s highways.

The bill, which was sent to the House for future consideration, is among several road funding-related measures that cleared the Republican-led chamber. Democrats voted against bills they said would seek to shift funds so higher union-level wages would not have to be paid on local road projects.

Under the tolling legislation, the state Department of Transportation would have to hire an outside consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study and to provide a potential implementation plan — based on revenue projections from “optimal” tolling rates, vehicle counts and types, and traffic diversion. The firm would be required to analyze the economic impact and feasibility of tolls and the ability to provide discounts to local residents, commuters and in-state drivers.

“We’re still in the mode where I think no options should be eliminated completely,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican. He said tolling “might actually work” in some parts of Michigan, but stressed that it is just a study and it is early in the process. He urged the public to not “overreact.”

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