The several activities of the County Engineer are financed from various sources. The upkeep of roads and bridges is primarily financed by highway user fees, such as motor vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes. Supplemental funds (voted bond issues and levies, as well as fines) are available for specific highway improvement purposes.
Fuel taxes earmarked for highway purposes are levied at the state and federal levels of government. State revenues are distributed for use in the State, County, Township, and Municipal Highway Systems by means of statutory formulas. The amount of the tax varies depending on legislative action. Also, some of the monies distributed to the states from federal funds are passed on to local governments on a project-by-project basis.
Breakdown of State Motor Vehicle Registration Fees
The income from state motor vehicle registration fees (after state administrative costs are deducted) is returned to the local government on the basis of a statutory formula. Currently, the distribution percentages are 71% for county, 24% for municipalities, and 5% for townships. County, municipal, and township government agencies have the authority to also levy their own motor vehicle registration fee in the form of an additional tax of up to $20. The amounts levied vary from county to county according to highway improvements needs and the enactment procedure of the 3 levels of local government. The revenues received must be used for highway purposes.