Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Beson secures critical protection for Bay City within advancing legislation
RELEASE|June 26, 2024
Contact: Timmy Beson

State Rep. Timmy Beson today fought for an amendment to a bill that will keep Bay City small businesses and families from being a target of rigid new tolling reforms.

House Bill 5733 requires the Secretary of State (SOS) to implement a tolling enforcement program, in which it can assist public or private toll bridge or tunnel operators by exchanging information about unpaid tolls and assisting in enforcing collection through invoices if requested.

As the plan has worked its way through the Legislature, Beson has been concerned about it further complicating a situation that has ensnared Bay City with tolling on the Liberty Bridge that began in June of last year. Today he supported an amendment that narrows the focus of the legislation to bridges that are over international waters and won’t include the Liberty Bridge or Independence Bridge.

“Since the tolling started, there has been considerable confusion for many people across our area, including small businesses,” said Beson, of Bay City. “Rental companies have reached out to me with concerns about unpaid tolls from consumers who rented their vehicles or trailers and didn’t pay the tolls. They were also concerned about the potential for vehicle registrations and transfers to be refused because of unpaid tolls and what that would do to their livelihoods.

“Families and local school officials have expressed concerns about how the tolling is impacting them too. Without a local process in place and a mechanism that works for drivers, the one-size-fits-all enforcement element of this bill would have made a bad situation worse for many people in the community. This was a commonsense change we needed that understood the complex nature of the situation in Bay City, and I’m pleased my colleagues agreed.”

When the legislation was before the House Transportation Committee in May, Beson provided testimony on the problems the bill would create for Bay City and that the Liberty Bridge and Independence Bridge should not be included under the purview of the new program.

He previously proposed an amendment to a School Aid Fund budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year that would have offered toll bridge reimbursements through the state that would be distributed to school districts within the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District and then to impacted families, as the tolling has impacted parents in the community who are now subject to the toll if they live on the wrong side of the river from their child’s school. Unfortunately, the amendment was not adopted by Democrat majority.

“I will continue to fight for our community in the House, and I will continue to be in communication with local officials as the city navigates this issue,” Beson said.

HB 5733 moved to the Senate for further consideration after its approval in the House.

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