Over the past few years, the conversation around the roads in Michigan has shifted from focusing solely on the conditions of the roads and instead has been focused on how to pay for our roads. We currently rely on residents of the state to pay their taxes and use that revenue to maintain our roads, as of recently, this isn't getting the job done.

The alternative to using the taxes from the state's residents is to turn to collecting tolls. Tolls affect both out-of-state and in-state travelers but seem to be a bigger burden to those who reside in the state. Although it may be a pain in the butt to pay for an E-Z Pass or I-Pass, it'll be better than spending large amounts on car insurance, gas, and taxes.

While reading an article about the possible revenue results that the tolls could bring for the state, I started to become fonder of the idea.  The statistics start to point to a clear story of how tolls are a huge help to states when paying for road maintenance. Obviously, not all states or highways are toll roads, but the roads seem to be successful for the most part.

Street Stats

There are 31 highways in Michigan, but experts say that only 14 could become toll roads including large parts of interstates 75, 94, and 96. The proposed cost would be six cents per mile, which could get you from the Indiana border to Detroit for just 12 dollars. There was also discussion of truck drivers paying more expensive fees and low-income drivers having their fees waived.

The 1200 miles of state highways that have been selected as the initial group of toll roads could make upwards of 1 billion dollars per year to help the offload for road maintenance. Although this change could be lucrative, they aren't looking to start the program until 2028 at the earliest.

Let's say this program does go live, how does this affect traffic? How does it affect travel times? And lastly, how will this affect your wallet in terms of insurance costs, fuel costs, and taxes?

Paying My Pocket

Yes, you may have to come out of some cash while driving or spend $20 bucks for a monthly toll road pass, but you spend at least $30 on unused subscriptions a month, right? The small price of the pass would be much better than getting hit over the head with expensive fuel prices, insurance rates, and tax payments.

We currently pay for our roads through taxes and that's part of the reason they look the way they do, because some people don't pay their taxes. So, starting a toll would raise the money itself, effectively taking at least a couple thousand dollars off each person's tax payments.

There's also the price point of insurance, which some people didn't know that road conditions play a factor in the state's insurance rates. We currently have some of the highest rates in the country but adding tolls could drop those rates significantly. Since we would have regularly maintained roads with a steady cash flow, the conditions will steadily increase which will also drop insurance rates.

Lastly, there's the fuel rates topic. We currently pay somewhere between 3 and 4 dollars per gallon on a consistent basis, which is around the national average. Although, tolls could drop this number down some and put us closer to the cheapest rates in the country. This is due to the idea that more people will be driving and using the toll roads and we're gaining extra revenue from out-of-state travelers, so this means there is extra money to pay for fuel.

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