“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” – Thomas Jefferson
While you are busy at work, your legislatures are attempting to grant unelected bureaucrats with the power to raise money from toll roads. The bill before the Senate to allow this to happen, Senate Bill 627, will accord, “certain public authorities to develop certain eligible products and to enter into certain agreements.” Essentially, an unnamed bureaucrat can develop a toll road and enter into a private contract with the government.
Although the government does not do many things well, they allow for free travel on highways throughout the state. A toll road ran by an unelected bureaucrat would line their pockets while hurting the average citizen. Furthermore, the wealthy will choose to drive on the toll roads because they can afford to do so, but the middle-class man will be forced to drive on them because of a lack of competition.
The worst part of SB 627, is that the toll roads will not replace the nearly $1.9 billion dollars that are being allocated to fixing Michigan’s roads, and you can bet that will increase. MDOT has stated that the $1.9 billion dollars is not enough to fix Michigan roads, and if the legislators do not listen to the will of the people there will be another tax raise in the near future.  Simply stated, Michiganders will have to foot the bill for road work, as well as pay a new toll while driving under this bill. That is simply immoral and unfair.
Furthermore, SB 627 does not mention the upkeep of the roads. Some of us Michiganders may be willing to pay the toll if the roads are among the best in the nation. Instead, the bill will allow for the private ownership of a toll with no regulations placed upon them.
If a toll road is broken and expensive how is that beneficial to the state?
Advocates may argue that toll road owners will fix their roads or else people will drive on other roads, regardless of its effect on their duration and time of travel. However, SB 627 does nothing to address the harms of public-private partnerships. Your local village could work together with a private company to build a toll road, without any input from the community.
Michiganders deserve better from the Senate. We will always advocate for new innovations from the private sector, but we must realize that we the people are in possession of the freedom to travel, and not the government!