Michigan lawmakers advance road, rail and license bills

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/30/2012

A variety of bills on the move this week at the Michigan statehouse address road funds, rail crossings and privacy.

An effort is underway to continue to offer help for getting more work done on Michigan roads. Fortunately for truckers and other drivers, they are not being asked to pay extra to cover the cost.

A year ago Gov. Rick Snyder authorized diverting some transportation-related funds for pavement work.

The change halted a $12 million deposit in road tax money to the state Transportation Economic Development Fund. The fund pays for highway, road and street improvements related to a particular new plant or development.

Instead, the revenue generated from driver’s license fees was applied to road construction and maintenance.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted this week to continue the diversion for another year. The bill now awaits further consideration in the Senate before it could advance to the House.

A legislative analysis of SB1243 shows the redirection will not affect total state revenue. The revenue will simply be shifted from one fund to another fund.

In addition, the redirection would continue to allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to match all available federal aid highway funds.

House lawmakers approved another bill on Thursday, Nov. 29, that would tweak the amount of money that road agencies in the state, including the Michigan Department of Transportation, funnel to railroads for the maintenance of rail crossing traffic control devices.

Maintenance payments would increase as much as $1,000 a year for various upgrades that include installing, altering and modernizing traffic control devices at crossings. Expenses would be shared by the railroad and the responsible road authority.

HB4609 has moved to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another House-approved bill covers emergency contact information for truckers and other drivers.

HB5542 specifies that anyone seeking to obtain or renew a driver’s license wouldn’t be required to submit emergency contact information. Instead, it would be the applicant’s choice whether to provide the information.

Emergency contact information would be made available only to law enforcement.

The bill awaits further consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

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

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