22st Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit Local Agency Scholarships

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the availability of funds for local agency use to attend the 22st Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. The Summit will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan, from March 21 to 23, 2017.

MDOT will provide reimbursement for local agencies to send one employee to the Summit. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include registration, lodging, meals, and mileage costs associated with attending the Summit. There is a maximum of 50 scholarships available to all municipalities, county road commissions and tribal agencies in the State of Michigan. 10 of the Scholarships will be saved for Traffic Incident Management participants.

The Summit is designed to bring together representatives from all areas of traffic safety – Enforcement, Engineering, Education, and Emergency Medical Services (the 4 E’s). The Summit presents a mix of general session speakers and breakout sessions aimed at the many areas of traffic and safety and traffic incident management.

For more information on the Summit and how to apply for reimbursement please click on the following link. Traffic Safety Summit Local Agency Scholarships

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Governor Vetos School Billboard Bill

After strong opposition from the League and working with partner organizations MTA, Scenic Michigan and Michigan Association of Planning, as well as direct member outreach, the Governor vetoed SB 953 today! This legislation would have amended the Highway Advertising Act to exempt private commercial uses from zoning when located on a school owned property .

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

NLC Congressional City Conference

Join city leaders from across the country at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference as we advocate together for the priorities of cities. With new players on the Hill and in the White House, this year it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard on behalf of your community. Washington, D.C., March 11-15. Get the details.

Application for Local Rail Grade Crossing Surface Funds Now Available

The Office of Rail is pleased to introduce a new local grade crossing surface program. In compliance with directives and criteria established as part of the recent transportation funding package, the new program offers 60% funding for crossing surface improvements, with railroads responsible for the remaining 40% of project costs.

A program announcement with additional details was mailed to all road authorities and railroads as of early December 2016. Road agencies are eligible to apply through January 27, 2017. Project selections are expected to be confirmed by early February, with authorizations scheduled to be issued by early April for the 2017 construction season.

Please click here for the application.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Energy Deal Reached on the Last Day of Lame Duck

Legislation making major changes to how the state regulates energy, including the construction of new power plants, how customer choice is managed and increasing the percentage of electricity that must be generated from renewable sources finally passed the House and the Senate.

Passage came after a tentative framework of a deal came together between the state’s major utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, and those advocating greater customer choice, two groups long at odds on energy legislation.

The approved versions of SB 437 and SB 438 would put in place strict parameters as to how the Public Service Commission would calculate the charge alternative electric suppliers would pay Consumers or DTE if they did not reach a contract with an entity to supply them with power to sell to their customers.

The deal drops Senate language that would have meant a minimum 4-year charge and maximum 10-year charge on customers of alternative electric suppliers. The bills could also reduce the size of the choice market if those customers return in large numbers to utilities.

The legislation sets up a revised certificate of necessity process for utilities to win state approval of building new power plants or purchasing existing ones. And another major provision requires utilities to submit integrated resource plans to the state showing five-, 10- and 15-year projections of their load obligations and plans to meet those obligations.

The legislation would increase the percentage of electricity utilities must generate from renewable sources from 10 to 15 percent by 2021.

Finally, those who currently generate their own power through the net metering program would avoid having to pay a charge to support the grid for the first 10 years, but there would be a study on the subject with the PSC later implementing a tariff no sooner than 18 months from the bill’s effective date on new net metering users.

The Governor is expected to sign the bills.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Compromise Bill Eliminating Local Cost Sharing with MDOT Sent to the Governor

On July 1, the Governor vetoed SB 557. That bill would have eliminated the local cost sharing provision for cities over 25,000 on MDOT projects. As a result of the veto, Senator Knollenberg, introduced SB 1068 as a starting point to begin working on a compromise.

After months of working with the Senator, MDOT and the Administration, a compromise was reached during lame duck that will eliminate local cost sharing on all limited access freeways. This compromise language will significantly reduce the liability for our largest municipalities and in some cases save them million of dollars.

Although we were disappointed with the Governor’s original veto, we appreciate the willingness of all parties involved to work toward this compromise and are very please with the results. We look forward to the Governor signing this legislation and the positive impact it will have on our communities and their local road networks.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Federal Government Avoids Shutdown, Sends Money to Flint

The Senate recently passed legislation to fund the federal government until April 28, avoiding a government shutdown by less than an hour. The measure passed 63-36 after a group of disgruntled Democrats backed away from their threats to block or delay the funding measure because of a dispute over healthcare benefits for retired miners.

Senators will have to reach an agreement by late April on spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2017 while juggling the confirmations of various executive branch nominees and perhaps a Supreme Court nominee. They will also be working on regulatory reform and a budget to pave the way for tax reform.

The Water Resources Development Act passed by a vote of 95 to 3, and it includes access to $100 million to repair Flint’s drinking water infrastructure; $50 million to address health care needs of children with lead exposure; the authority for the state of Michigan to forgive $20 million in past drinking water loans to Flint; and a requirement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warn the public within 15 days of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

Update – TIF Library Opt Out Package

After a full court press by the League, working with the Michigan Downtown Association and Michigan Townships Association, all day and in to the night, Senate Bills 619-624 were taken up for a vote by the House and passed in the wee hours of this morning. The Senate then concurred the bills after going in to session at 10:00 a.m. today.

Thank you to all who contacted your Representative and encouraged your colleagues to do the same! The package of bills is now headed to the Governor. We will be asking him to look at the negative impacts this legislation has on local economic development before he decides to sign or not to sign them in to law.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Bill on Lead Action Level Notifications Sent to the Governor

HB 5120 would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the owner or operator of a public water supply to issue a public advisory within three business days after being notified that the lead action level had been exceeded, in situations in which administrative rules require public education regarding lead.
A water supplier would have to provide the public advisory in a form and manner designed
to fit the specific situation and be reasonably calculated to reach all people served by the public water supply. To reach all of those people, a supplier would have to use at least one of the following forms of communicating the advisory:
  • Appropriate broadcast media, such as radio and television.
  • Posting of the advisory in conspicuous locations throughout the area served by the public water supply.
  • Hand delivering the advisory to people served by the public water supply.
  • Another communication method approved in writing by the DEQ.

We anticipate the Governor will sign this legislation

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Speed Limit Bills Sent to the Governor

This week the Legislature sent a package of bills to the Governor that would address the way speed limits are set in Michigan. HB 4423 would require the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) to increase the speed limits on at least 600 miles of limited access freeway to 75 mph and 900 miles of trunk line highway to 65 mph within a year after the bill’s effective date if certain conditions were met.

HB 4425 would require a local road authority to determine any modified speed limits on a local highway.  A speed limit will now need to be established through a engineering and safety study and by the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under ideal conditions rounded to the nearest multiple of five miles per hour. Local road authorities would be prohibited from establishing and posting a speed limit at less than the 50th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under optimal conditions on the fastest portion of the highway segment where the speed limit was being posted.

The League supported HB 4425 as it met our objective of allowing context to be considered when establishing a speed limit rather than only being able to establish a speed limit at the 85th percentile. This concludes a two and half year discussion on this issue and we expect the governor to sign the bills.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.