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In 2017, Michigan residents will see vehicle registration tax hike

Beginning January 1st, Michigan residents will see a 20 percent vehicle registration tax increase to improve the state’s crumbling roads.

On Wednesday, Managing Director of the Berrien County Road Commission, Louis Csokasy, explained that the infrastructure and roads are a top priority in Berrien County and that this tax is long overdue.

The last statewide vehicle registration tax increase in Michigan was nearly 15 years ago.

Csokasy explained that the funds allocated towards Berrien County roads will help each of the 22 townships located within the county.

“Our budget right now is about 17 million dollars, and that pays for everything that we do. Berrien County is one of the bigger road commissions in Michigan. We actually have over 1500 miles in roads and the funds we receive are going right into our roads, not salaries, not buildings. We are investing that additional money in roads,” Csokasy said.

Csokasy and his staff are also using advanced computer technology to help them manage road maintenance.

Using an app, they are able to take photos of the roads and score each one.

Heavily traveled roads receive more attention due to of the number of cars that drive through each day.

“We use this information to figure out what type of treatment we are going to put on those particular roads. This is new technology that we got to try out in this particular process. It’s needed and it’s coming at a critical time,” says Csokasy.

While the tax increase means Michigan drivers will be shelling over a few extra dollars each year, many residents agree that the cost is worth it.

Even on a brisk winter day in December, 76-year-old Bob Dixon from Stevensville, is shining up his Chrysler minivan that has been sitting in storage for three years. 

“If it’s gonna go for roads, it’s long overdue. So I don’t have a problem with that,” Dixon said. 

Berrien County will see those funds come in around March, with construction beginning first on heavily traveled roads next summer.

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