Tolls could be coming for Bay City bridges
Tolls could soon be an everyday thing in Bay City. Local leaders are considering a plan to offset bridge repairs by passing the bill onto drivers.
"You're talking about a toll on that bridge. I think they're wrong," said Richard Henderson, lives next to Independence Bridge.
Henderson travels on Independence Bridge on Bay City's north side several times daily. If Bay City's Mayor gets her way Henderson could be paying $1 every time he crosses it. Drivers without a Bay City address would pay double, $2.
"I will go around. I will avoid that bridge, and if they put a toll on the next bridge I'll avoid that one and I'll eventually move all my business to this side of the bridge," says Henderson.
"I think it's probably one of the best opportunities the city will ever be offered," says Bay City Mayor Kathi Newsham.
Mayor Newsham says the two bridges would be sold to a private company called United Bridge Partners.
"We go over them every day we kind of take them for granted," said Newsham.
Newsham says this deal would lift a big burden off city coffers. Between Independence and Liberty Bridge the mayor says they are in need of $7 million in repairs. That's money she says the city doesn't have right now.
"People can't even walk on one of the walkways over on independence bridge because of the damage. Liberty Bridge you know the rebar is showing on the sidewalks, it's showing on the actual platform that our cars travel over," said Newsham.
If approved, on their dime, United Bridge Partners would rebuild Independence Bridge making it as tall as the Zilwaukee Bridge at around 125-130 feet. They would also repair Liberty Bridge. Both bridges would then have tolls.
"I don't think a toll is the answer," said Newsham.
The mayor says nothing will be done before people who live in the city have a chance to get their questions answered. As soon as the date for a public fourum is set we will pass it along.