News Story

Voters In More Than 700 Michigan Towns Said ‘Yes’ To Local Road Taxes

While Lansing squabbles over how much is really needed

Discussions in the state Legislature this year have been dominated by the question of how much money is needed to improve Michigan roads. What has received very little attention, however, is that taxpayers in many communities have already agreed to pay extra taxes to improve their local roads and streets.

Michigan Capitol Confidential reported earlier this year that 549 municipalities impose property taxes for road repairs. A more thorough review of state data and records indicates the number of communities imposing road millages is more than 700. The amount of money raised locally and spent locally is not known, but it is certainly in the hundreds of millions or more each year.

In Oakland County, for example, 15 municipalities impose road millages on property owners. In Wayne County, another 15 municipalities collect property tax levies for roads.

Residents in Canton, for example, voted last August for a road-related property tax increase that kicked in with the city’s 2018 winter property tax bills. Canton thus joined roughly 700 other Michigan municipalities where voters have approved similar taxes.

The median price of a home sold in Canton is $259,100, according to Zillow. The owner of a house valued at that amount would pay $188 a year under Canton’s 2018 road tax.

According to Canton officials, the money will be used to improve primary roads, local subdivision roads and state trunk lines.