Rural Roads About Michigan Land Line State Bills

The Michigan Legislature has approved a package of bills to fund police patrols on rural roads statewide.

Currently, the state uses a portion of the tickets to help cover road patrol costs outside of towns and villages. There is a $10 fee attached to every $40 civil violation to help pay for patrols on secondary roads.

Forecast revenues for the 2021-2022 fiscal year are $5.8 million. An additional $4 million from the general fund totals $9.8 million.

The funding covers approximately 100 Highway Patrol Assistants.

Rep. Mike Mueller, R-Linden, said relying on ticketing revenue creates “a bad public perception.”

The bills would instead use a portion of liquor taxes to fund the state’s secondary highway patrol program.

Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, said revenue from traffic fines has been declining in recent years. On the other hand, he said that liquor tax revenue has increased.

“The Secondary Highway Patrol Program has been underfunded for a long time and the Legislature has had to make quick fixes year after year. It ends today with these bills,” Brann said in earlier remarks.

A 4% excise tax on spirits would be levied for a fixed amount of $15 million per year for sheriff’s departments to patrol rural roads. An inflation adjustment would also be included.

Mueller said the plan solves a longstanding problem for the state.

“This plan solves a problem the state has been trying to solve for 20 years by providing a steady source of funding for secondary highway patrols that serve and protect so many Michigan communities,” Mueller said.

The bills – HB5732, HB5772 and HB5773 — moved to the governor’s office. LL

More Michigan news land coverage is available.

Jessica C. Bell