It’s that time of year when Michigan drivers frequently dodge potholes. Right now, lawmakers are looking for a new way to pay for those concrete craters. Among the possibilities being considered are using toll roads or having drivers pay a per-mile tax to fund future road repairs.

A transportation subcommittee is hearing testimony about how toll roads or a road usage tax could be used to help fix the roads. According to the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), the state needs to find $3.9 billion in annual funding to keep up with road repairs.

Blake Brown, a resident of Calhoun County, commutes to work, and like most who commute, he says he already pays enough.

“The roads are pretty rough. I always think the Capitol should be a shining example of what your state is. And it’s interesting to see all these potholes around the Capitol,” Brown admitted.

However, the Executive Vice President of MITA, Rob Coppersmith, said the amount we are paying in gas tax to fund road repairs isn’t enough to keep up with our crumbling roads.

“Essentially there’s been band-aids and asphalt overlays put on them to inch us along. So, we are kind of in a crisis mode as far as fixing our roads,” Coppersmith explained.

Since 2020, Michigan has been able to rebuild and repair roads through the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program, but that program is expected to dry up by next year.

“If we don’t continue to fund at that level, we’re going to lose all the traction that we’ve gained through that bonding program. So, we will start going backward rather quickly,” Coppersmith stated.

And with more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles on the roads, Dr. Patricia Hendren, the Executive Director of the Eastern Transportation Coalition says replacing the gas tax with tolls or a fee that requires drivers to pay for every mile they drive would be the best way to pay for road repairs.

“The distance-based fee is not going to solve all of our transportation challenges. Tolling roads is not going to solve all of our transportation challenges. It’s going to be a mix,” Dr. Hendren acknowledged.

Dr. Hendren admitted they are still trying to figure out the best way to track the miles someone drives. She said it could be done through an app in your car or phone.

Lawmakers say they’re still a long way from making a decision. No bill has been developed, and lawmakers say they are still in the early stages of studying the issue. Rep. Donni Steele (R), Orion Township said they’re hoping to make the best decision for everyone in the state.

“I am not a what’s good for me is good enough for the rest of everybody. I look at the state as a whole, and I think we need to look at this seriously,” Rep. Steele said.

This article originally appeared in WILX 10. For more, click here.