2017 Edition of Local Agency Programs Guidelines for Geometrics On Local Agency Projects

The MDOT Local Agency Program (LAP) has posted the 2017 Edition of the Guidelines for Geometrics on Local Agency Projects, as approved by FHWA and replacing the 2014 Edition. A summary of major changes is posted on page A-3 of the 2017 Edition for a quick reference. Designers are encouraged to become familiar with the new Guidelines as they will apply to all Local Agency Projects submitted for funding, beginning with Fiscal Year 2018 funds

The MDOT 2017 LAP Guidelines for Geometrics is posted on the LAP website and can be found by clicking here.

Please feel free to contact Mark Harbison, PE, Urban Program Manager, at 517-335-2744 or by email at harbisonm@michigan.gov with additional questions.

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.

 

Save the Date: Transportation Asset Management Council’s Fall Conference

Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council will be having their annual fall conference in Marquette on October 5th.This conference presents critical information for League members and we encourage all of those that are able to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

A full agenda and registration information will be be coming soon. For additional information about hotel reservations, contacts and presentations, please click here for the Save the Date flyer.

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.

State Budget Signed By Governor

The Governor affixed his signature at the end of last week to the omnibus state budget bill.  This bill (HB 4323) includes a 2.5% ($6.2 million) increase to statutory revenue sharing. This spreadsheet from the House Fiscal Agency outlines the expected revenue sharing payments for each municipality based upon this increase.  These new dollars will flow strictly to communities that received a CVTRS payment in the current year and will be distributed to those units on a per capita basis.  Constitutional payments are expected to grow by approximately $40 million in the coming year, subject to actual state sales tax collections.

http://house.michigan.gov/hfa/PDF/Revenue_Forecast/CVT_Revenue_Sharing_Payments_FY16thruFY18_Conference_Report.pdf.

In addition to this welcome increase in revenue sharing, the budget also includes an increase above the Governor’s original proposal to fire protections grant funding of $1.4 million.  While not as high as the supplemental, one-time increase in the current year’s budget, this will be the second year in a row where fire protection grant funding has been higher than the baseline recommendation.  State PILT payments for purchased lands will also see a slight increase in this new budget.  The budget estimates $4 million in revenue coming in from the new medical marijuana law that will be distributed as grants to local units of government.  A new grant program has $500,000 available within Treasury that will provide reimbursements to local units that implement a financial data analytic tool.  Project Rising Tide will receive an additional $2 million to expand beyond the current 10 communities in that program.  The Michigan Enhancement Grant program will receive nearly $36 million to fund 20 projects in communities around the state.  Within the MDOT portion of the budget, an additional $49 million is anticipated being distributed from the MTF to cities and villages, along with additional revenue appropriated to transit and the TEDF.

From a broader level, the budget deposits another $150 million into the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund and $35 million into the Governor’s new Michigan Infrastructure Fund.

Supplemental budget language was added for the current (FY16-17) budget, as well. The Ambulance Quality Assurance Assessment Program (QAAP tax) was eliminated from the current year budget, but language allowing for its inclusion in the coming budget was retained, though it was amended in an attempt to tighten the revenue base upon which this new tax could be assessed.  Efforts will continue to keep DHHS from implementing this new tax and repealing the language in the Public Health Code.

New funding has been added to the current budget year aimed at providing reimbursement dollars for the under-development local Indigent Defense Commission standards to the tune of $5 million.  As these plans continue to be finalized within each county, the picture will become clearer as to how much more will need to be appropriated for full implementation of those plans.

New funding was also included in this supplemental section for the newly created Municipal Wetland Alliance for wetland mitigation banks ($3.9M) and for a Regional Infrastructure Asset Management Pilot ($2M), both of which could benefit communities around the state.

The Governor’s line item vetoes focused mainly on education or human services program additions and did not impact any of the items referenced above.  The new budget goes into effect on October 1, 2017.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Legislature Moves Into Summer Recess

The Legislature took a break from their summer break last week to return to session for one day (July 12th) to finalize action on a few bills.  Highlighting this one-day session was the Good Jobs for Michigan economic development bill package (SBs 242-244).  The proposal would incent a business to bring in large numbers of new jobs to the state by locating a new company in Michigan.  These bills are being pushed heavily by Governor Snyder and are supported by a broad coalition, including MML.  The Governor is pointing at these bills as a necessary tool to attract larger business investment projects (like the FoxConn flat screen manufacturing facility being discussed in the media), where Michigan is competing against other states that all offer some sort of tax or job creation incentive.  The bills were approved by large margins in both the House and Senate and are on the Governor’s desk where he is expected to sign them in the coming days.

Also during session on the 12th, two more bills were finalized that the League had been engaged in…Senate Bill 332 corrected a technical oversight from a change that occurred at the end of 2016 to medical waiver requirements for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. This year-end law change created an unintended negative impact on licensure requirements for municipal employees necessitating SB 332.  The language we supported in this bill will restore municipal employment licensing requirements and mirror the state law more closely to the federal guidelines for allowable exemptions. Another bill requiring our involvement is House Bill 4160.  This bill finished its winding way through the legislative process as a piece of legislation attempting to address the recent Attorney General opinion prohibiting non-profit organizations from fund-raising within road rights-of-way.  HB 4160 went through multiple proposed versions and saw MML’s position move from support, to opposition, to the eventual hold-our-nose neutrality.  SB 332 is on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature while HB 4160 has yet to be presented to Governor.

With last Wednesday’s session activity complete, the House and Senate are now back on recess, not expected to officially return for voting until September, following Labor Day.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Federal Budget: Fight the Cuts Toolkit, Take Action Now

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget process continued this May with the release of the administration’s full budget proposal. The proposal, which cuts more than $54 billion in funding for domestic programs that communities rely on, would have major consequences for every city and village in Michigan – regardless of size, location or economic outlook. The administration’s proposal is just the starting point. Congress is currently working to draft their budget and appropriations bills. Now is the time for leaders across this state to come together and send a unified message to Congress that we need a partner who understands the impact of continued federal investment in communities.

We are proud to be working with the National League of Cites to provide you with a Toolkit that includes the following:

The Michigan Municipal League, in partnership with the National League of Cities, is prepared to fight every step of the way — but we’re going to need your help. Use this action guide to learn how the proposed budget cuts could impact your community and how you can advocate for continued federal investments.

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.

Track Federal Funding for Programs Important to Cities and Villages

In its Fiscal Year 2018 budget plan, the administration proposed an unprecedented $54 billion in cuts to federal funding for domestic programs important to cities and towns. Since then, members of the House Appropriations Committee have met to debate funding levels to agencies and specific programs, with some important changes.

As of Monday, July 17, the Committee has finished work on half of the twelve appropriations bills needed to fully fund the federal government. We are very please that  funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was fully restored. The Committee trimmed CDBG funding by $100 million, down to $2.9 billion, which is a drastic reversal from the complete elimination the administration suggested. Other areas of concern still remain though as TIGER grants continue to face complete elimination.

Through our ongoing partnership with the Nation League of Cites they have put together a Federal Budget Tracker for FY18 that takes a detailed look at some of the most important federal programs to cities, and the current state of play for their funding.To learn more on each spending bill please click Federal Budget FY18 Budget Tracker.

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.

Rural STP obligation balance at $19.5 million: Complete biddable packages must be received by August 1!

Local road agencies should be aware that the Rural STP balance is unusually high for this time of year. As of June 27, approximately $19.5 million of local rural obligation authority remains. With the August redistribution right around the corner.

This total includes about $4 million in bid savings on projects already let.

Please submit projects promptly. The RTF Program’s new policy is that all complete biddable packages received by August 1 will be funded.

It is very important that locals spend the full amount of the STP, as only 5 percent may be carried over – about $2 million for this year. If you can identify federal aid projects that could be let this year, your next step will be to identify obligation authority – whether in your own Rural Task Force or another.

If you will not spend your remaining STP obligation dollars, please notify your entire RTF immediately, as well as your planner. We are hopeful that other county and local road agencies have projects that could spend down the funds.

Click here to see the most recent (June 26) spreadsheet that shows obligation remaining (“Unsub Amt”) in the various RTFs. This data will also soon be posted on MDOT’s Local Agency Programs web page.

MDOT cautions the figures are not perfect, as the agency transitioned one of its financial databases earlier this year. You may wish to contact the regional planner for a RTF to determine if they truly have obligation remaining before you proceed.

Obviously, local road agencies do not wish to leave STP dollars on the table but the time is very short to get a project approved!

If you have questions on whether a project is moving forward or need to arrange additional obligation, please contact MDOT: Either Jim Sturdevant at (517) 335-2603 and sturdevant@michigan.gov; or Mark Harrison at (517) 373-2286 and harrisonm@michigan.gov. An alternate contact is Bruce Kadzban at (517) 335-2229 and kadzbanb@michigan.gov.

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.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal is a $54 Billion Disinvestment in Cities

The Administration recently released their fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. the League has been working with the Nation League of Cities to identify the cuts that will affect cities across Michigan and the list is extensive. The total cuts equal a $54 billion disinvestment in communities across this country. As a result, not a single city, village or town will be better off if this budget were to be signed into law.

Key programs the budget eliminates funding for are Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, TIGER grants and he Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), just to name a few.

These cuts would have a devastating result on not only on local budgets but also on the quality of life for all our residents. It is imperative that we weight in with our voice and inform Congress that these cuts are unacceptable. The League will be proactively reaching out to express our concerns and we need you to do the same. Below you will find a department by department list of identified cuts that could negatively impact your communities.

  • Agriculture
    • Eliminates $500 million for the Water and Wastewater loan and grant program for rural water projects, which hurts small cities that utilize the program to maintain and improve water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, and storm water drainage efforts.
    • Eliminates the Rural Business Cooperative Service ($95 million).
    • Eliminates and consolidates rural economic development and infrastructure grant programs under a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants program.
    • Eliminates $61 million for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural single family housing direct loan program.
    • Cuts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) by $4.637 billion, encouraging a re-balancing of the Federal/State partnership.
  • Commerce
    • Eliminates the Economic Development Administration ($221 million), which impedes distressed cities from receiving funding support for public works grants, city planning strategies, and research and technical support
    • Eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency ($26 million), which could slow the growth of successful minority-owned businesses nationwide by defunding programs useful in the planning, marketing, and managing processes.
    • Cuts $250 million from coastal research programs, which forces cities to pause or ease-away from preparation efforts for rising sea levels and worsening storms.
    • Eliminates the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which hurts small- and medium-sized businesses that are reliant on this public-private partnership to foster job growth and maintain stability.
    • Cuts $2 million (18%) from the BroadbandUSA program, which provides technical assistance to state and local governments on broadband development, deployment, and financing.
  • Education
    • Eliminates 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC; $1.2 billion), which negatively impacts children in general, and more specifically children in impoverished areas, by cutting afterschool and summer programs.
    • Cuts $2.3 billion from Title II, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which harms teacher quality and professional development efforts. The program is weighed heavily towards communities with high poverty.
    • Proposes a $1.4 billion investment in school choice, including a $167 million increase for Charter School Program grants, $250 million for a new private school choice program and $1 billion for Title 1 to ensure “student-based budgeting,” which follows the student to their school of choice.
    • Proposes level funding ($12.7 billion) for special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Proposes level funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) – $1.393 billion for the Clean Water SRF and $863 million for the Drinking Water SRF, for a total of $2.257 billion.
    • Proposes level funding for WIFIA, a loan and loan guarantee program for large water infrastructure projects, at $20 million.
    • Cuts $326 million from the Superfund program and $11 million from the Brownfields program. Both programs help communities clean up polluted lands and revitalized abandoned and vacant properties.
    • Eliminates funding for regional ecosystem restoration efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative and Puget Sound, while maintaining strict EPA pollution reduction requirements, for a total cut of $427 million.
    • Eliminates funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, such as Energy Star, for a total cut of $100 million.
  • Energy
    • Cuts $1.4 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and refocuses the priorities on early-stage R&D rather than development/deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
    • Eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program ($220 million), which stops states from improving the energy efficiency of low income households.
    • Eliminates the State Energy Program ($50 million), which strips state and local energy efficiency and renewable of energy programs.
  • Health and Human Services
    • Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), totaling $3.384 billion, which helps low-income families with energy costs.
    • Eliminates the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), totaling $714 million, which diminishes available funding directed towards alleviating poverty.
    • Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), totaling $1.393 billion, which is an important, flexible funding source that allows States and Territories to tailor social service programming to their population’s needs.
    • Reduces the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program by 10% and eliminate the TANF contingency fund, totaling $1.785 billion.
    • Proposes reforms to Medicaid by giving State choice between per capita caps and block grants beginning in 2020.
  • Homeland Security
    • Cuts State and Local Homeland Security Grant Programs by 25% to $349 million, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program by 25% to $449 million, the Emergency Management Performance Grants by 20% to $279 million, and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund by 60% to $39 million.
    • Eliminates the National Flood Insurance Program’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program, which puts many cities and towns that rely on maps when building homes outside of flood zones at risk.
    • Proposes a 25% non-Federal cost match for FEMA preparedness grants, which will impact small- and medium-sized cities. Smaller cities and towns will not be able to meet the 25% cost match, which will likely lead to their exclusion from FEMA preparedness funding.
  • Housing and Urban Development
    • Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant program, totaling $3 billion in cuts, which hurts the most vulnerable communities that are already in distress.
    • Eliminates the HOME program, totaling $950 million in cuts, which decreases affordable housing options in cities.
    • Eliminates the Choice Neighborhoods program, totaling $125 million in cuts, which decreases opportunities in communities with public and federally subsidized housing.
    • Reduces Rental Assistance Programs by $1.9 billion. Rental Assistance Programs help approximately 4.5 billion very low income households.
    • Eliminates the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program, the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program, and the rural capacity building program ($56 million).
  • Independent Agencies
    • Eliminates 18 independent agencies, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, Institute for Museum and Library, and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
  • Justice
    • Reduces Byrne Justice Assistance Grants by 25% to $239 million and eliminates the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.
    • The budget also reduces Justice Information Sharing Technology Program by 50% to $34 million, Juvenile Justice Grant Programs by 14% to $230 million, Second Chance Act Grant Program by 27% to $43 million, School Safety Initiative by 74% to $18 million, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by 8% to $11 million and eliminates the State and Local Gun Violence Reduction program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
    • The budget would increase COPS Hiring Grants by 10% to $124 million and create a new $65 million Protect Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program.
    • The budget also contains proposed language for Congress to consider that would require DOJ and DHS to withhold grants from sanctuary cities that do not comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 or honor DHS detainer request aliens suspected to be in the country unlawfully.
  • Labor
    • Eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), totaling $434 million in cuts, which aims to transition low-income, unemployed seniors to unsubsidized jobs.
    • Cuts funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) job training and employment services programs by $1.341 billion (39%).
  • Treasury
    • Reduction of $500 million (4.1%). The IRS accounts for 97% of Treasury’s discretionary budget, which would have a lasting impact on the agency.
    • Eliminates new grants to Community Development Financial Institutions ($210 million), which expands availability of credit, investment capital, and financial services in under-served communities.
  • Transportation
    • Eliminates the TIGER grant program ($500 million), which has funded countless roads and transit projects since its inception in 2009.
    • Eliminates $630 million from long distance Amtrak routes.
    • Cuts Army Corps of Engineers discretionary budget by $1 billion (17%).
    • Eliminates $928 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts grants program.
    • Cuts $175 million from the Essential Air service, which subsides commercial flights to rural airports.

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.

President Trump’s Plan to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

Last week President Trump hosted a “White House Infrastructure Summit” It was a gathering of the Administration and local leaders from across the country. At this summit the President laid out his vision for future investment in infrastructure. You can view the President’s official plan for infrastructure by clicking here.

The White House rolled out ideas on how to fix our nation’s ailing roads, bridges, schools and water systems in their version of “Infrastructure Week.” Building off the $200 billion in federal investment included in President Donald Trump’s FY2018 budget, ideas such as privatizing air traffic control, streamlining the permitting process, and improving inland waterways were all  highlighted by the president.

While proponents argue the infrastructure proposal would deliver greater control to states and local governments, the proposal appears to back down on a direct investment in infrastructure that cities and the nation desperately need. The result is a mixed bag for cities — some crucial programs shored up, major changes to regulations, and a great deal of funding uncertainty for the future.

The League will continue to stress the following points in our advocacy efforts for increases investment in infrastructure at the federal level.

  • Protect the tax exemption for municipal bonds
  • The need for direct funding to cities and villages
  • Ensure that federally funded programs that communities use to leverage additional investments continue
  • Any infrastructure package needs to include roads, bridges, transit, water, electric and broadband

Please consider reaching out and expressing the importance of investing in infrastructure and the need for that investment at the local level.

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.

2017 METRO Maintenance Fee Sharing Payment

On June 14, 2017, the Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA) issued the 2017 METRO Maintenance Fee-Sharing payments to cities, villages, and townships, as required by the Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Rights-of-Way Oversight Act (METRO), 2002 PA 48.

Total amount to be distributed $24,580,726.72
   
25% allocation (Townships) $6,145,181.85
75% allocation (Cities & Villages) $18,435,544.87
Total $24,580,726.72

Specific municipality distribution amounts can be found at the following link. 2017 METRO Payment. Should you have any questions please contact the LCSA at (517)335-5448.

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.