designed to roll back recently raised tolls on the Mackinac Bridge
in Michigan has been vetoed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, according
to media reports.
sponsored by Sen. James Allen, R-Traverse City, was the lead bill
in a five-bill package. In addition to rolling back higher tolls,
it would have frozen the cost of crossing the bridge until 2006-2007.
Granholm vetoed four parts of the five-bill package, including SB464,
which would have dedicated $5.9 million in state funds to the Mackinac
Bridge Authority to pay for bridge repairs – the primary justification
for the toll hikes.
only part of the package Granholm signed, according to The Detroit
Free Press, was a bill that would have exempted emergency vehicles
from tolls on the bridge.
for big rigs jumped from $2 per axle to $3 per axle May 1. Fees
for most other vehicles rose from $1.50 to $2.50. The commuter rate
went from $1.25 to $1.50. The Ann Arbor News reported that
the toll hike was designed to pay in part for a $100 million project
that included sandblasting the structure for the first time since
it opened in 1957 and then repainting it.
legislation passed the House July 2 and the Senate July 16. Rep.
Scott Shackleton, R-Sault Ste. Marie, the primary sponsor, told The News residents in the area around the bridge would look
at the veto and conclude "we're treated differently by the
this bridge were somehow between Detroit and Dearborn, there's no
doubt in my mind that it would be free," Shackleton told the
newspaper. The sentiment had been echoed in previous statements
from the bill’s backers.
the coming years, the Mighty Mac will need some repairs requiring
substantial funding, which should not come at the expense of area
residents, tourists or businesses,” state Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse
City, co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a recent statement.
Mackinac Bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan
and divides Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. It is the largest suspension
bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the third longest in the world.
Granholm will cross the bridge next week with thousands of other
pedestrians as part of an annual celebration, according to The
News. Whether she’ll pay any toll to cross is not known.