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Fri November 13, 2009
No agreement on how to pay for parks in '10
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – A state Senate plan would let drivers buy a state park permit by tacking $10 onto the fee paid when they buy their annual license tabs. Supporters hope to generate more money for taking care of public parks and recreation areas. Money for that has been running short in recent years.
But the plan still faces a lot of opposition and could change significantly before it reaches Governor Granholm's desk.
Opponents say driver's fees should be used only for maintaining and fixing roads.
Republican state Senator Gerald Van Woerkom says the state should stick with selling permits at parks and campgrounds.
"It's a recreational opportunity that's provided by the state of Michigan," he says. "I guess I don't see that as one of the needs of the state of Michigan that we have to provide for, but then I think the user should pay for that recreational opportunity."
Other opponents say the Senate plan might not raise enough money because it's too easy for drivers to say "no" to paying the fee. An independent citizens panel recommended the license fee - but said it should be assessed automatically unless a driver opts out.