Dark Stores Assessment Issue: Time is of the Essence, Contact Lawmakers this Weekend!

Please contact your state Representatives TODAY and leave a message asking for their support of HB 5578, which is the legislative fix to the Dark Stores assessment issue negatively affecting many of our communities. This is an extremely important issue that is already hurting many communities and will likely be impacting your community soon. Use our Action Center to get your Representatives contact information and send them a sample letter that we’ve drafted.

As you may have read, Michigan communities have momentum on this issue thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling Friday that validates the case against the Dark Stores property valuation method. Some people in the state Legislature view this court ruling as a reason for them not to take action on HB 5578. But that is not the case. The court ruling is good news but HB 5578 is still needed because it affirms the decision by the Court of Appeals and sets clear guidelines for the Michigan Tax Tribunal, where this issue originated.

The sponsor of this bill Rep. Dave Maturen has 26 co-sponsors from both parties and it passed out of the House Tax Policy committee in an 11-2 vote.

Please tell your Representatives to take up and vote in support of HB 5578 this week in the State House.

For further information about the bill and the previous committee testimony, please review these Inside 208 articles – “Committee Approves Dark Store Fix – Contact Your Legislator”, “New Dark Stores Solution…”  and “Michigan Municipal League Members Testify…”.  Or visit the League’s Dark Stores Information Page.

Senate Transportation Committee Votes to Eliminate Local Cost Sharing Requirement with MDOT

Act 51 currently requires that all incorporated cities and villages with a population larger than 25,000 to pay a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s project costs for opening, widening, and improving state trunkline highways within that incorporated city or village. A city or village is required to pay 12.5% of the project cost if their population is greater than 50,000, 11.25% of the project costs if their population is between 40,000 and 50,000, and 8.75% of the project costs if their population is between 25,000 and 40,000. This statute affects 45 cities in Michigan.

SB 557, sponsored by Senator Knollenberg, would eliminate the requirement for incorporated cities and villages greater than 25,000 to cover a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation projects cost. As Michigan works to develop a 21st century transportation network the League believes these 45 cities should no longer be required to subsidize MDOT’s costs for the following reason:

  • All country road agencies and incorporated cities and villages with a population less than 25,000 are not required to pay a portion of MDOT’s project cost creating inequity in the system.
  • The funds used to pay for the cost of these projects comes directly from the 21.8% percent of funding received by cities and villages under Act 51. This results in less than 21.8% of Act 51 funding actually being used on local roads.
  • These matching funds can cost a local road agency a significant portion of their Act 51 funding.
  • Covering these project costs can delay, reduce, or eliminate future rehabilitation or reconstruction projects and significantly hinder a city’s ability to conduct routine maintenance such as snow plowing
  • MDOT’s planning process allocates state spending on projects based on the needs of their system without taking into account a city’s ability to contribute to the cost of those projects as required by Act 51. An unexpected bill from the Department could cripple a city’s local road program for years

This week the Senate transportation committee agreed with the League’s opposition to this provision within Act 51 and unanimously voted to eliminate it.

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

Transportation Asset Management Council Releases Annual Report

During 2015, the Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) rated the pavement condition of the paved federal-aid eligible roads for the twelfth consecutive year. This effort was achieved through a cooperative effort of individuals from county road commissions, city engineering staffs, the Michigan Department of Transportation, regional planning agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations.

In addition, the TAMC also began rating the pavement conditions of non-federal aid eligible
roads as well. Unfortunately, as you will see from data included in the attached report, the
condition of the public roads in the state continues to deteriorate.

The TAMC also reports on the condition of bridges. The data indicates that the condition of
Michigan bridges has stayed flat, but is forecasted to decline in the future. The report contains specific analysis of this information.

You can visit the TAMC website for a copy of the  2015 Annual Report being featured under the “What’s New” selection on the home page by clicking here.

Both the full and mini versions are also available in the About Us section with all previous reports under Annual Reports and can be accessed by clicking here.

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

MDOT Seeks Comments on Rural Transportation Planning Process

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is federally required to reach out to local elected officials in non-metropolitan areas every five years to gauge their involvement and knowledge of the transportation planning process.

They are currently seeking input through a short on-line survey.  Please complete the survey between now and May 31, 2016. To complete the survey please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Pamela Boyd, Supervisor, Statewide Planning Section at MDOT via email at boydp1@michigan.gov.

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

Michigan Road Preservation Association Annual City County Workshop

Michigan Road Preservation Association Annual City County Workshop will be held on April 7, 2016 in Lansing. The workshop will explore the best practice of pavement preservation. Attendees will learn:

• Best treatments to use at each point along the pavement deterioration curve
• Technical advantages and specifications for specific treatments
• Find answers from peers and industry leaders that can help guide local agency preventive maintenance decision making.

For more information about the workshop please click on the following link. MRPA Annual Workshop 2016

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

Transportation Asset Management Council Spring Conference

The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council has finalized the spring conference program for Wednesday, April 13 at the Dearborn/Detroit Hilton DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center. The agenda and hotel reservation information can be found at the following link. 2016 Spring Asset Management Program Agenda

The TAMC Conference Committee put together a broad spectrum of topics this year and we are very excited for the event.  The goal was to provide value across a diverse audience and discuss emerging issues such as the new Federal Performance Management regulations, new technologies in pavement maintenance,  incorporating other corridor utility information in Transportation Asset Management planning, and learning Asset Management strategies from our neighbors to the North.  The conference will also include updates from Director Kirk Steudle, the MDOT Metro Region, TAMC activities and reporting of 2015 bridge and pavement conditions.

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

 

MDOT seeks applications for 2017 High Risk Rural Road program.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) program. The FY 2017 federal budget for this program is estimated to be $2,000,000.

A HRRR is defined as: 1) any roadway functionally classified as rural major or minor collector or a rural local road that the crash rate for fatalities and incapacitating injuries exceeds the statewide average for those functional classes of roadway, or 2) any roadway functionally classified as rural major or minor collector or a rural local road that will likely have increases in traffic volumes that are likely to create a crash rate for fatalities and incapacitating injuries that exceeds the statewide average for those functional classes of roadway.

For more information on the High Risk Rural Road program please click here. For the electronic submittal form click here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Blazo at (517) 335-2224 or at blazop@michigan.gov.

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

Time is Running Out: Tell Congress to Support the TIGER and Transit Programs in FY 2017

Congress is currently finalizing appropriations requests for FY 2017 and you have only one week to tell Congress to support TIGER and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment programs.

Please consider supporting a fully funded TIGER and Capital Investment Programs by signing onto T4A’s nationwide support letter. Deadline: Friday February 26th, 2016.

  • Read and Sign Transportation for America’s TIGER and Capital Investment Program support letter.

The incredibly popular TIGER grant program is one of the few ways that local communities can apply for and win funds from the federal government for important priority projects of almost any kind. This important program gets the best locally-supported projects off the ground. In 2015, TIGER funded 39 projects in 34 states.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Transportation Asset Management Council Announcements

Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council recently made three important announcements.

  1. The Transportation Asset Management Council released a memorandum for 2016 data collection of Paved Non-Federal Aid Eligible (PNFA) Roads and Streets. The memorandum can be found at the following link. Memo_TAMC Reimbursement PNFA
  2. TAMC has  hired a new coordinator, Roger Belknap. For a copy of the press release announcing his hire click on the following link. TAMC Coordinator
  3. The 2016 Transportation Asset Management Spring conference will be held April 13, in Detroit. For more information please click the following link. Save the Date_2016 Asset Management Conference

If you have any additional questions about these announcement or other issues, please contact the new TMAC Coordinator, Roger Belknap, at (517) 373-2249.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Governor Announces Transportation Budget, Talks Investment in Infrastructure

This week the Governor announced his budget which includes an increase in transportation funding. As a result of higher fuel taxes and registration fees that will take affect on January 1, 2017, the Governor is projecting $533 million in addition revenue for roads, bridges, transit, and aviation across Michigan. Cities and villages will receive approximately $100 million of the new revenue generated.

Unfortunately the Governors is no longer adding additional General Fund money to the transportation budget resulting in a net impact to cities and villages that will be less than $50 million. This increase represents new constitutionally protected revenue that will continue on an annual basis but it falls far short of what is truly needed.

Additionally transit will see bus capital increase by $19 million and local bus operating increase by $12.6 million. Rail will see a $15.8 million increase and aviation and airport improvement programs will receive a $13.5 increase.

The Governor also announced an additional $195 million to combat the ongoing crisis in Flint.

  • $30 million will be used to give Flint residents rebates on lead-tainted water they didn’t feel comfortable drinking or using.
  • $63 million for treating children with high blood levels expanding preschool programs putting nurses in the schools, abating Flint homes of lead, making epidemiologists available to analyze blood lead levels and paying for in-home behavioral services for children.
  • $37 million is going toward making the Flint municipal water safe to drink. That means more water samples, inspections and replacing of filters in schools, studying what needs to be going on with Flint’s infrastructure and staying connected with Detroit until the end of 2016, when the city is scheduled to hook up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
  • $15 million will go towards food and nutrition programs for Flint’s children, including a summer meal program, mobile food banks and food inspections.
  • $50 million would be set in reserve for any future needs in Flint.

Finally the Governor proposed $165 million in ongoing funding to create the Michigan Infrastructure Fund that will be used to fund statewide infrastructure needs. There are limited details but the Governor is proposing that the investments will be based on a prioritization of needs. Categories for investment could include replacement of known high-risk lead and copper services lines, infrastructure upgrades while repairing roads or other utilities and the development of asset management plans.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.