Mackinac Bridge Authority

Chances are you’ve driven across the Mackinac bridge at some point.

At Marquette’s Peter White Public Library on Friday, the Mackinac Bridge Authority made it easier for most U.P. residents to speak out on concerns they have about the bridge.

It’s the first time the Bridge Authority has ever met in the U.P. west of St. Ignace.

Mackinac Bridge Authority executive director Bob Sweeney says they took board member Bob Struck up on his suggestion to get more of the U.P. involved in the administration of the bridge.

Marquette City Commissioner John DePetro was one of the area residents who attended to give feedback to the board.

He says people around the city that he knows are concerned about the bridge’s safety and toll structure.

Sweeney says the toll structure in place at the moment should be enough to pay for bridge maintenance for the next 20 years.

The tolls increase from the current $3.50 to $4 at the start of 2012, and then to $4.50 in 2014.

The tolls have to be enough to pay for the bridge’s maintenance because it doesn’t receive any funding from the state.

The authority has also made it a little easier to pay those tolls.

You can now deposit money into a Bridge Authority debit card account to use for tolls, instead of carrying cash.

The concept is similar to the E–Z Pass or Fast Lane accounts that some states offer commuters as an option for highway tolls.