My Thoughts On Possible Toll Roads
I was wondering when this would come up and it looks like the conversation is happening again. According to MLive, MDOT and the Michigan legislature are looking into a study on toll roads. Now this doesn't mean there will actually be tolls very soon. No, it will probably be a few years before any road is tolled.
I have lived in Michigan for over 5 years and I have only paid one road toll, the Mackinac Bridge toll. I love it! I'm originally from New Jersey, which has two major highways that are both tolled. These are highways that you pretty much have to use to get to New York, the Ocean, or to Philadelphia, so I have paid these tolls dozens of times. I thought tolls were a normal thing, since over 30 states have tolls, but was very happy to see none when I got here.
I'm happy to not see any tolls in the state but I can't help but wonder "should we have them to help with our road situation?" We could use something to make sure that roads, highways, etc. are nicely paved and tolls usually help that. Tolls can also be used to add lanes on highways, which can be helpful mostly near cities but not really necessary when you start heading north and there aren't many people.
The next question would be, what road should we toll? This is going to be the toughest thing to do. I-75 would be my top choice since it stretches from Ohio all the way up to Sault Ste. Marie. I-75 also goes through high population areas like Detroit and Saginaw, so more of a reason for people to take the highway and pay the toll. Plus there is already a toll at the Mackinac Bridge, so you could add a few more along the way.
With any toll road you have to make sure the tolls aren't too high cause then no one will want to take it unless they absolutely have to. For example, in New Jersey if I wanted to take one of the two toll highways from New York down to Atlantic City, which is about 100 miles, I would have to pay about $6-10 in tolls. Not something I want to pay, but it is worth it because most of the state highways have much less traffic and there are at least 4 lanes of highway, with some spots having 6 lanes.
Toll roads in Michigan are not happening tomorrow, but it might be something happening soon. As long as the money they make from these tolls are used to pave the roads so it doesn't feel like I'm driving on the side of the moon, I'm all for it.