Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Beson: Toll legislation would make Bay City bridge situation worse
RELEASE|May 21, 2024
Contact: Timmy Beson

State Rep. Timmy Beson continued to stand with Bay County families, school districts and business owners while testifying before a House committee today on broad new tolling reforms. 

House Bill 5733 would require the Secretary of State (SOS) to implement a tolling enforcement program, in which it can assist public or private toll bridge or tunnel operators by exchanging information about unpaid tolls and assisting in enforcing collection through invoices if requested.

Beson said the legislation would exacerbate a situation that has ensnared Bay City with tolling on the Liberty Bridge that began in June of last year and weaponize the state as an enforcement body for a private entity.

Beson specifically noted the confusion for small businesses that has resulted from the toll. Under the legislation, if an individual fails to pay six tolls that remain unpaid for more than 90 days after the individual receives a notice, a toll operator could notify the SOS and the SOS could have the ability to refuse vehicle registrations or transfers.

“I have heard from rental companies in the area who are getting unpaid toll bills for consumers who have used them and didn’t pay a toll,” Beson said. “Now this plan could potentially put their livelihoods at risk. I worry there won’t be any discretion with this. Ultimately, we need to figure out a process locally and get a mechanism that works for drivers before we start coming down with one-size-fits-all enforcement.

“This plan may work for some bridges in some areas of our state, but for Bay City it’s installing Step 7 or 8 before we even have the first few steps figured out.”

Following Beson’s testimony, officials from the Secretary of State opposed the plan and pointed to the example he laid out with businesses being stuck with bills and the fallout that could come with.

Beson’s testimony continues his efforts to protect hardworking people across the city. He recently proposed an amendment to a School Aid Fund budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year that would have offered toll bridge reimbursements through the state that would be distributed to school districts within the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District and then to impacted families. The tolling has impacted parents in the community who are now subject to the toll if they live on the wrong side of the river from their child’s school.

HB 5733 remains under consideration in the House Transportation, Mobility and Infrastructure Committee.

PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Timmy Beson, of Bay City, testifies before the House Transportation, Mobility and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, May 21.

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