The Michigan tolling study, an update

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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Kari Martin, MDOT’s University Region planner and project manager on the tolling study requested in 2020 legislation. Also joining the conversation is Eric Morris, Michigan office lead for HNTB, the transportation consultant selected to complete the study.

Martin and Morris explain the process and why the Legislature is looking at extending the study until the end of this year, as reported in Crain’s Detroit Business last week (subscription).

Echoing comments from Reason Foundation’s Baruch Feigenbaum on a previous podcast, Martin and Morris talk about how the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) will further reduce the already inadequate transportation revenue obtained through the motor fuel tax. EVs essentially do not pay for the roads they drive on.

Advocates observe that by moving to a more sustainable revenue source, everyone pays their fair share and it provides an opportunity to prepare Michigan's interstate and highway system for future smart infrastructure networks. These innovations offer the prospect of a transport infrastructure system that suffers less congestion, is safer, and can be maintained predictively.

Other relevant links:

A 2019 Epic-MRA poll of Michigan voter views on tolling.
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Fees_EpicPoll_669728_7.pdf

Some things the study will cover, including managed lanes and how they work. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/managelanes_primer/

Why Michigan doesn’t have tolling. Some history.
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Toll_Roads_Brochure_548788_7.pdf
Photo: Eric Morris, Michigan office lead for HNTB. Photo courtesy of HNTB.

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