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Bay City bridge toll vote delayed as residents speak out

Some Bay City bridges could soon be privately owned, forcing those who travel them to pay a toll.

BAY CITY, Mich. --Taxpayers in Bay City are speaking out about a controversial proposal to charge tolls on two bay city bridges.Officials say the decision to privatize the bridges would save the city almost $9 million if it passes.

The Bay City Commission was supposed to vote Monday night, but they decided on Sunday to delay the vote because so many residents have spoken out.

There are four lift bridges in Bay City; two owned by the state and two owned by the city.

But because of the high repair costs, the city wants to turn their bridges over to a private company to manage.

The bridges would be sold for $1 million to United Bridge Partners who would in exchange build a new 125-foot-tall Independence Bridge and repair Liberty Bridge at no cost to the city.

But the problem is those costs would be made up by charging tolls to those who cross the bridge, something residents aren't in agreement with.

"I understand they've got to figure out something to maintain them but I just won't use them. I live here in the city, I pay all my taxes here in the city. I don't feel like if we live here we should have to pay for it,” said Linda Cole.

Under this proposal, residents would not be charged a toll for the first three years but after that, it would cost 50 cents a trip. As for non-residents, it could cost you $2 each way.

"I think it will keep each person on their own side of the river because people won't pay to go back and forth,” said David Leonard.

Emma Davis is also not in favor of the proposed toll.

"Personally, I think it's ridiculous, I don't think we should be charged tolls, we've lived here forever and it’s never been that way. I think people live on one side and have to get to the other side, it's ridiculous to have to pay tolls to get to work".

The other two bridges which are owned by the state would remain in operation and toll-free, and that's where some residents say they'll turn to.

Residents are also concerned about the impact on local businesses.

Bay City manager Dana Muscott says the vote was delayed in order to better educate residents and work with county leaders.

No new date has been set.

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