Saturday, June 30, 2007

Toll Roads coming to Michigan?

This is an interesting development. I wonder what the plan would be. I don't think toll roads will catch on here at all.

/30/07 - Might US-23 commuters someday pay a toll to use an expanded roadway? A new report from the Michigan Department of Transportation suggests the state should consider creating toll roads to ease congestion and help pay for transportation costs. Industry insiders say sections of Interstates 75, 275, 94 and 96 along with U.S. 23, could be potential candidates for toll lanes. The idea has come up in the past in Michigan without being approved -- but has been used across the country. The state's transportation plan through 2030 was released earlier in the week. It says Michigan "may want to consider tolls." But it doesn't specify locations, potential funding sources or expected revenue. The report suggests building new toll lanes on existing, congested roadways.

1 comment:

keithr said...

Like most Michigan drivers I used to really hate toll roads. But over the years I've had to travel extensively around the U.S. for work and I got a good opportunity to see how well they work elsewhere. Because they have a constant stream of income they tend to be well maintained. Now wouldn't that be a novelty in Michigan?

I think toll roads are a good idea as long as they are completely self-funded and not financed at all by tax dollars. We also need to prevent the state from dumping revenue from toll roads into other projects or the general budget. A dollar spent driving on the road should be used to pay for it or saved for future repairs, upgrades, etc . . .

This fits in with the conservative philosophy that users of services should pay for them and not expect taxpayers to provide subsidies.

One nice thing about toll roads is that it is a pay by the mile operation. The driver of an SUV and the driver of a hybrid both pay the same toll, which is fair since they are both getting the same use out of the road. (A few thousand pounds of weight one way or another makes no difference on road wear and tear).

Another nice thing about toll roads is that many people will refuse to pay to use them. This keeps them less crowded, making it more likely that you'll be able to get where you're going on time.