Michigan secures road funds

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, January 11, 2013

Two new laws in Michigan cover road funding and distracted driving.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill to continue to offer help for getting more work done on Michigan roads. Fortunately for truckers and other drivers, they won’t have to pay extra to cover the cost.

A year ago the governor 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.

Previously SB1243, the new law continues the diversion for another year.

A legislative analysis 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 continues to allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to match all available federal aid highway funds.

Another new law addresses distracted driving for the state’s youngest drivers.

Dubbed “Kelsey’s Law,” the change prohibits novice drivers from talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel. The new rule takes effect in late March.

The bill is named for Kelsey Raffaele. The 17-year-old from Sault Saint Marie, MI, was killed in a car crash while talking on her cellphone.

Violations would be considered a primary offense, meaning drivers could be cited solely for violating the rule.

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

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