Michigan laws revise rules for road cost-sharing, truck fines and tows

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law multiple bills that cover local road funding, certain truck fines, and large truck tows.

The first new law ends a requirement that the state’s largest cities cover some of the expense of local road work. Specifically, state law has required cities with populations in excess of 25,000 to reimburse the Michigan Department of Transportation for a portion of road projects within their limits.

The rule affects 45 cities statewide that include state trunk lines within their limits. The state trunk line highway system is a 9,655-mile network of roads posted with Interstate-, U.S. or M-numbered route designations.

Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, said the new law will assist cities and villages with road repairs by removing a requirement that forces them to use limited funds to reimburse MDOT for certain road projects within their limits.

Snyder acted this summer to veto a version of the bill unanimously approved by the Republican-led Legislature that removed all cost sharing requirements.

The GOP governor said at the time that while the bill attempted to soften a provision creating hardships for some communities, the legislation went too far in releasing communities from reasonable contributions to the improvements of vital roadways in their area.

The revised bill signed into law, SB1068, eliminates cost-sharing requirements for interstate projects only.

Knollenberg said the change is about fairness.

“When cities aren’t forced to pay for state roads they don’t own, more local roads can be repaired without delays,” he said in prepared remarks.

In an attempt to limit “misload” fines, a separate new law limits civil fines for operating some vehicles that are over the normal or permitted weight limits. If one or more axles on a vehicle or combination of vehicles exceed legal weight limits, but could be made legal by a proper distribution of the load across axles, fines are limited.

Affected loads would face $200 fines per axle, up to three axles. HB4142 no longer allows courts to have discretion on the fine amounts.

Another new law removes the 25- and 50-mile limits on towing a disabled truck for repair. Towers found in violation have faced up to $100 fines with revenue used to benefit public libraries.

Advocates say the change is necessary because fewer facilities are available in the state to repair large trucks.

The changes authorized in SB702 take effect by early April.

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

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