Michigan Senate votes to roll back higher Mackinac Bridge tolls

| 7/1/2003

The Michigan Senate has approved a legislative package that would roll back recent increases in Mackinac Bridge tolls and freeze fairs until 2006-2007.

SB464 would dedicate $5.9 million in state funds to the Mackinac Bridge Authority to pay for bridge repairs.

Tolls to cross the bridge were raised May 1. Fares for big rigs jumped from $22 to $33. Fees for most other vehicles rose from $1.50 to $2.50. The commuter rate went from $1.25 to $1.50.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, said the proposal would re-establish the old rates. It also calls for public hearings to reduce toll rates.

“In 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,” Allen said in a recent statement. “This legislation ensures that critical infrastructure repairs are funded, while ensuring that toll fees remain low.”

Bridge Authority officials said the toll increases were needed to pay for $10 million in maintenance and enhancement projects over the next decade, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The bill was one of five bills approved by the Senate. They now go before the House.

SB468 would relieve the bridge authority of its obligation to repay the state money advanced for bonds, the newspaper reported. The bill, introduced by Sen. Judson Gilbert, R-Algonac, would cost the Michigan Transportation Fund about $53 million a year.

Other legislation in the package would set aside at least $5.9 million for repairs and prohibit tolls for emergency vehicles.