Mackinac Bridge package sent to governor

| 7/23/2003

A five-bill package that would roll back recent increases in Mackinac Bridge tolls and freeze fairs until 2006-2007 is headed to the governor.

The legislation, which passed the House July 2 and the Senate July 16, would dedicate $5.2 million in state funds to the Mackinac Bridge Authority to pay for bridge repairs and offset toll increases that went into effect this spring. 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,” state Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a recent statement. “This legislation ensures that critical infrastructure repairs are funded, while ensuring that toll fees remain low.”

The lead bill – SB464 – in the package would relieve the bridge authority of its obligation to repay the state money advanced for bonds. Other legislation in the package would set aside funds for repairs and prohibit tolls for emergency vehicles.

Fares 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.