"Toll Roads Are The Way To Go"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, June 20, 2014

Our state needs to reconsider where we are today. Our largest city has declared the greatest bankruptcy ever filed by a municipality.

Our elected officials need to reconsider their responsibilities and how they meet them. I believe that if a proposal has been put forth and thoroughly discussed, action should be taken. The proposal should not be tabled because it’s time for legislators to go on vacation.

Voters should take note of what their elected officials actually accomplished during their previous terms. We should also pay attention to bills introduced and who puts them forth. Determine how our representatives vote on subjects that concern all of us as individuals. We should be given more information as well as reasoning from those asking for our support at the polls.

Perhaps the most important action that needs attention in our state is our road conditions and how to finance their maintenance. The subject comes up every spring with stronger emphasis after exceptionally cold winters. Why can’t a long-term resolution be put forth and passed? We need to make repairs as soon as weather allows — not after lawmakers take their vacations.

How about a person running for our legislature advertising on TV how well they can shoot an arrow and never miss. Another one tells us he can shoot an arrow and play the accordion — but not at the same time. Would their (or our) ad dollars not be better spent telling us what they might do to solve the troublesome needs of the area they hope to represent? I know quirky little rhymes and silly ads draw viewer’s attention. But once they get it, the ad is over.

I’m quite certain subjects on music or shooting abilities will not be on the ballots, or agendas so why waste time on them. Viewers and voters alike want to know what problems will be solved by those running for various offices.

Much in the state news the past few days and weeks are proposals aimed at helping Detroit. It’s my birthplace but it’s not the only city in Michigan. I can’t see why expenditures proposed for that area should supersede all others.

State and federal road construction engineer’s layouts of I-375 need correction. It dumps a major volume of traffic right downtown on Jefferson Avenue with no place to go. According to news reports, continued development of the Riverwalk area depends upon re-routing of I-375 and developers are demanding it. They want to incorporate upscale shopping venues and walkways along the river. This sounds great and so have similar ideas in the past. Spending millions of dollars to change or cut off I-375 does not. We do not have the funds to maintain the interstates throughout the state so we can hardly afford to invest in one interchange.

As I see it, Michigan should establish toll roads on many of its highways instead of raising taxes. A higher gas tax hits all Michigan taxpayers while commercial users will simply fill up out of state. A toll system would put the added cost where it belongs, on all users.

An excuse lawmakers have used for not installing tolls is they are federal highways. This does not fly: there are numerous interstate highways with tolls, in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and all up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Tolls are dedicated funds that are earmarked for road maintenance. They would relieve the burden taxpayers of Michigan have paid for too long.



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