Michigan bills cover rolling stock, truck tolls, local roads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Notable bills that are up for consideration at the Michigan statehouse cover rolling stock, toll discounts and load road funds.

House lawmakers approved two bills that are supposed to clarify the definition of rolling stock in sales-tax and use-tax exemption to include aftermarket parts added to trucks and trailers operating interstate, such as in-cab heaters, auxiliary power units and GPS devices.

The first bill would expand a sales tax exemption on purchases or leases of rolling stock by an interstate operation. HB5444 would apply the exemption to any equipment directly used in a truck or trailer’s operation.

The other bill – HB5445 – would apply the same exemption from the use tax for the storage, use or consumption of rolling stock.

According to the legislative analysis, the changes sought in the bills would result in a loss of nearly $500,000 for the state.

Both bills are awaiting further consideration in the Senate Finance Committee.

Another bill would give certain truckers who use the Mackinac Bridge a 25-percent price break.

Sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, the bill would offer reduced tolls for trucks crossing the bridge linking St. Ignace and Mackinac City. Specifically, the bridge authority would be responsible for setting up a commuter discount toll for large trucks that make at least two trips across the bridge within 36 hours.

The authority now charges $5 per axle for large trucks. Passenger vehicles are charged $2 per axle.

The bill – SB1165 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

One more bill covers funding for local roads. Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, introduced a bill to help ensure that townships receive “their fair share” of state road money for improvements and maintenance.

Each townships share of state road funding would be redirected from the county level to the townships as long as they formed a local road authority.

“I know that our townships can spend state road monies far more responsibly,” Heise said in a statement.

Heise’s plan calls for a regional township road authority to get its share of state road money coming from fuel taxes. The funds could then be used by the townships to pay for road work, snow removal and maintenance, and non-road uses.

The bill – HB5758 – is in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.

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