Company proposes toll bridges for Bay City


One Mid-Michigan community has delayed a vote on adding tolls to two of its bridges.

Bay City commissioners were supposed to vote Monday night on an agreement with a private bridge firm. If approved, two of Bay City's bridges would become toll bridges.

"A little disappointed, but I understand. I understand when something is new to a community. I understand that they want to be more educated and it's only better for them to hear the whole story," Bay City Manager Dana Muscott said.

Muscott is part of a group of city leaders that have decided to delay a vote that would potentially put tolls on two city bridges - the Liberty Bridge and the Independence Bridge.

A private firm called United Bridge Partners wants to take control of the so called bascule bridges. The move would free up the city from owning, operating and maintaining the structures.

That vote was supposed to happen Monday night.

"We don't want to turn down this solution. It's better to take it off the table right now and regroup and see if this is the only solution in the end," Muscott said.

Muscott said city leaders are also looking at the possibility of a county wide millage to fund the bridges, but she said that could be a tough sell. She said if tolls are installed city residents would not have to pay, but non-residents would.

"They have decided to do free tolls for the city residents," Muscott said.

Some city residents said they don't think anyone should have to pay a toll to use the bridges.

"We want to keep the economy going and we don't want to slow it down in Bay City. I think that would slow it down. People wouldn't come here," said Keith Morley, resident.

He thinks tolls would hurt tourism in Bay City.

As for Muscott, she thinks better roads and bridges would lead to economic growth for the area. The only problem is how to pay for it.

"You know, it's going to take a couple of months. I mean, we need to get together and put a game plan together," Muscott said.

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