State lawmaker wants free parking for anyone over the age of 75

LANSING, MICH. - Members of the Greatest Generation may be getting another perk to go along with their senior meal discount – free parking at any metered space in Michigan.

A bill recently introduced in the state senate would provide free parking to anyone over the age of 75. The group represents about 7½ percent of Michigan’s more than 7.1 million licensed drivers, according to Michigan Secretary of State records.

Under the bill introduced March 2, eligible seniors would get a state-issued sticker entitling them to free parking in a metered space or in a publicly-owned parking structure or lot. All the driver would have to do is provide proof they are over the age of 75 to obtain the sticker.

As of October, there were more than 539,000 licensed drivers in Michigan 75 years of age or older. Nearly 300 of those drivers were 100 or more.

Michigan already offers a program that allows people with disabilities to park for free, but it is not contingent on age. It covers people who are physically unable to insert coins and tokens in parking meters or who have certain mobility limitations. Eligible drivers must display a disability placard with a yellow free-parking sticker.

Requirements for the existing free parking sticker are more narrowly defined than for a disability license plate or placard, according to the Michigan Secretary of State website.

Senate Bill 208 was introduced by Sen. Coleman A. Young II, D-Detroit, and has two co-sponsors. It is the second piece of legislation introduced this year aimed at giving senior drivers a break.

A senate bill introduced in January would exempt people 65 and older from increases in vehicle registration fees. Registration fees for cars and trucks went up about 20 percent on Jan. 1 as part of the state’s road funding plan.

Both bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation.

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