The Michigan Legislature required MDOT to conduct a tolling feasibility study
- Evaluate the economic impact and feasibility
- Consideration of a discount program
- Impact on out-of-state operators
- Applicability for federal tolling programs
- Optimal toll rates
- Identification of required tolling rules
- Long-term financing opportunities
- Identification of candidate corridors
- Identify ways to maximize use of Michigan workers and products
Michigan tolling feasibility study
The feasibility study will determine if tolling makes sense and identify the most promising corridors from Michigan's 31 limited-access corridors.
- Complete initial traffic and revenue evaluation
- Analyze the corridors using Michigan-specific data (I.e., road and bridge conditions, speed and travel reliability, and socioeconomic data)
- Conduct screening to identify the most promising corridors
Complete the following for the most promising candidate corridors:
- Assess the feasibility of federal tolling programs
- Refined traffic and revenue evaluation, and establish toll rates and impacts
- Establish equity and discount programs
- Complete economic and environmental analyses
- Explore financing opportunities
- Set policy and rules
- Finalize projects and schedules
Frequently asked questions
A toll is a fee charged for using a particular roadway, bridge, or tunnel that is designated to have a toll.
Toll revenue is the sum of the collected fees of those who use a tolled infrastructure.
A study conducted to review the possibility of state-sponsored tolling facilities. Michigan P.A. 140 of 2020 required MDOT to engage an outside consulting firm to conduct a tolling and managed lanes feasibility study and strategic implementation plan. Working with HNTB and CDM Smith, MDOT is conducting the Michigan Tolling Feasibility Study.
Transportation infrastructure is vital to Michigan's economy and our way of life, and the costs to improve and maintain existing assets routinely outpace available funding. The increase in vehicle fuel efficiency and emergence of electric vehicles (EV) present additional future sustainability challenges to the continued use of motor-fuel based transportation funding sources. Tolling charges user fees based on vehicle type, not fuel type.
Every road needs maintenance and eventual rebuilding, and that costs money. No road is ever fully paid for. A road, just like your home, requires ongoing upkeep and maintenance. With concern about the future viability of current funding due to increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and electric vehicles, tolls may provide a more sustainable source of revenue for ongoing road maintenance and improvement in certain situations.
The federal motor fuel tax as a funding source for transportation was last raised in 1993 and no longer yields sufficient revenue. Additionally, as more vehicles become efficient or electric — and no longer contribute to the federal motor fuel tax — funding will continue to diminish.
Yes, the study will evaluate potential equity and discount programs. The framework to consider equity in transportation project development includes three elements: benefits, burdens, and engagement. For a tolling project, benefits could include things such as mobility improvements that tolling can fund. On the other hand, burdens could include things such as the cost of tolls themselves, or the potential traffic diversion through communities of concern. Stakeholder engagement will be critical to understand these individual perceptions and help balance burdens and benefits at the end of the study.
There are express lanes or all-electronic toll systems in more than half of the United States. Examples in the Midwest include Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio.
Most of the 62 U.S. toll agency members of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) receive no federal or state funds to support their day-to-day operations. Yet, on an annual basis, they generate more than $14 billion in toll revenue. That is equal to nearly one-third of the federal motor fuel tax revenues collected each year. Without those toll revenues, states would have to go without the vital road, bridge and tunnel infrastructures that those tolls support, including some of the most heavily traveled highways, bridges and tunnels in the country.
No, Michigan currently has no toll roads. But tolls are collected in Michigan at the Blue Water Bridge, Grosse Ile Toll Bridge*, International Bridge, Mackinac Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel*, and Ambassador Bridge*.
*Privately owned and/or operated
Yes, this is called diversion and is an aspect that will be addressed as part of the study.
A transponder, generally, is a device that, upon receiving a signal, emits a different signal in response. In tolling, a transponder is the electrical device in a toll pass that triggers payment of the toll while the vehicle maintains roadway speed. A transponder is obtained upon enrolling in a toll payment program and is most commonly attached to the windshield of the vehicle.
Interoperability is the ability of a transponder to respond to other compatible systems.
The most common current technology to pay tolls is by adding a transponder to a vehicle's windshield. Please also refer to the "What's a transponder?" question above.
The scope of this study is defined by P.A. 140 of 2020, which requires a study of all electronic tolling under current federal regulations. Evaluating other revenue generation models is beyond the scope of this study.