Some truck drivers in Michigan are alarmed by a new road-funding proposal that would significantly hike registration costs for commercial transportation firms.
According to the Michigan Trucking Association, the proposed legislation would increase truck registration fees by a whopping 30 per cent over a four-year period. This means fees could increase by more than $2,000 for a single truck.
Those behind the legislation are seeking to improve Michigan’s deteriorating roads, which they say are torn up by heavy commercial vehicles. It’s a position that frustrates truckers like Mark Myers. “They say these heavy trucks are tearing the roads up; I don’t know what they expect us to do,” Myers told a local news outlet. “They like to get their toilet paper and their food, but they don’t like us to bring it in these,” Myers added, pointing to his truck.
Fellow truck driver Dan Tippett sees the legislation having a huge impact on his company if it’s approved by the state legislature. “We have 30 to 40 trucks in our fleet, so that’s a pretty substantial increase,” Tippett said.
Meanwhile, driver Gary Nichol worries that mounting legislation and costs will mean “there’s going to be no bottom line left,” leaving trucking companies and truckers struggling to make ends meet.
In addition to higher registration fees, Michigan lawmakers are also exploring a new wholesale tax on diesel fuel. That too could hurt trucking companies.
Overall, it’s believed the higher fees would raise roughly $50 million, which could be put towards improving Michigan’s highways. Truckers remain wary of the legislation, but many do support the measure if it means improving the state’s dangerous roads.
“If all that money goes back to the roads and improving the roads I’m all for it,” Tippett insisted. And he’s not alone: the Michigan Trucking Association has announced that it too supports the new legislation.
But nothing is set in stone just yet. It’s believed Michigan voters will have final say on the bill sometime in May 2015.