Senate and House Take First Steps on Transportation Budget

This week the Senate Transportation Subcommittee passed SB 148 and the House Transportation Subcommittee passed HB 4242. Each of these bills appropriates just over $4.3 Billion in transportation revenue to MDOT, counties and cities and villages. Each of these budgets has a baseline appropriation of $491.2 million dedicated to cities and villages. This is an increase of $49.6 million over the current fiscal year.

SB 148 would create a grant based program that appropriates an additional $3.1 million to assist villages with a population under 2000 with resurfacing costs. Grants would be equal to 75% of an individual projects cost and could not exceed $250,000. The Transportation Asset Management Council would administer the grant program and would prioritize projects based on the greatest return on total infrastructure value.

HB 4242 would also dedicate addition resources to local roads by allocating $10 million from the Transportation Economic Development Fund and $2 million from the Local Agency Wetland Mitigation Fund. This would result in an additional $7.9 million for county road commissions and $4.1 million for cities and villages.

These bills are is still a work in progress. The budget is expected to be complete by June 1st so we are at the beginning not the end of the process. As the budget moves forward the differences between the two bill will need to be worked out. The League will continue to track these bills and provide you with ongoing updates as they forward.

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.

Senate Bill Impacting Municipal Construction Specifications Voted Out of Committee

This week SB 157 was voted out of Michigan Competitiveness Committee on 4-1 party-line vote.The bill states a public entity could not exclude any pipe and piping materials when soliciting bids for a public works project if the pipe and piping materials meets or exceeds the recognized standards for pipe and piping materials on similar projects as determined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The League believes this bill  would interfere with a municipalities engineer’s judgement and ability to specify pipe or pipe materials for water projects the reflect the needs of their system based on that systems specific needs. We are opposed to this legislation.

We do not believe the goal of this legislation is to provide fair and open competition as supporter have stated, but rather as a way increase the use of a product (PVC) on water and wastewater systems that they already can use, but in many cases and for many reasons choose not to. The bill incorrectly assumes that all pipe materials are the same and that the absence of a material (PVC) in a standard/specification requires state government intervention. Communities and engineers make different pipe material selections to reflect the unique needs and values of their community, considering operational and maintenance costs, and they should retain this ability.

The legislation threatens the important ability of engineers and communities to develop
standard specifications that reflect the needs and values of their community. These
communities are developing water and wastewater systems, not a series of individual projects. Standard specifications are used by federal, state and local governments for all type of infrastructure projects to ensure quality, safety and uniformity.

SB 157 could lead to a significant increase in bid protests and litigation over pipe selection on projects, thereby increasing costs, delaying projects, and subjecting engineers and communities to unnecessary litigation.

We encourage you to reach out to your Senator, express your opposition to this legislation and ask that it not be taken up for a vote on the Senate floor.

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.

Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule Proposed by the Governor

The Governor has proposed Lead and Copper Rule reforms saying “The federal rule is dumb and dangerous. We need a Michigan rule that is smart and safe.” The proposed changes will require both administrative rule changes and statutory changes by the legislature.

Proposed Administrative Rule Changes:

  1. Phase in a reduction in the Lead Action Level from 15 ppb to 10 ppb by 2020.
  2. Require most public water systems to perform a full system inventory identifying
    materials used, such as lead service lines.
  3. Require the establishment of Water System Advisory Councils for most
    community Public Water Systems to assure citizen membership, input, and
    access. The Councils will develop plans for community outreach and education,
    and collaborate with community groups to assure correct implementation of the
    LCR. The Councils will assure access to information regarding corrosion control,
    testing results, remediation processes, educational efforts and general water
    safety.

Proposed Statutory Changes:

  1. Strengthen sampling methods and require annual testing at state licensed
    facilities involving children and vulnerable adults, including schools, daycare
    facilities, nursing homes, health facilities, and adult foster care facilities.
  2. Require public disclosure of testing results or filters on every drinking water
    faucet in state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults. Facilities
    exceeding standards will be required to take remedial action.
  3. Prohibit partial lead service line replacements.
  4. Require landowners and property sellers to disclose to renters or new
    homeowners of any service lines or plumbing that are known to contain lead.

The league will be tracking this issue closely, reaching out to our members for input and offering our thoughts to the administration on these changes.

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.

Transportation Asset Management Council Award Nomination Request

We know there are individuals and agency’s making positive progress in the management of public infrastructure; these efforts need to be recognized!  Click the following link for a  memorandum announcing the request for nominations of individuals and organizations for the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council’s Carmine Palombo Individual Award and the TAMC Organization Award. TAMC Award Nominations Request 2017

A core element of the TAMC work program is educating and reporting on best management practices. The TAMC award has been a tool to recognize leadership and promote success stories across Michigan since 2009.  Help us share these stories by submitting a nomination of a worthy person or organization.

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.

Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) Data Collection on Paved Non-Federal Aid Roads Eligible for Reimbursement

On May 6, 2009, the Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) established a
policy to set aside a portion of the annual data collection budget to reimburse
transportation agencies for collecting Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating
(PASER) data on Paved Non-Federal Aid (PNFA) roads and streets. Many local road
agencies have taken part in this reimbursement program to the extent funds have
allowed. The TAMC is also aware of many local road agencies that periodically collect
PASER data on PNFA roads without reimbursement from the TAMC.

For 2017, funds for reimbursement of PNFA roads will be allocated in a first
come-first served order until the budget of $37,000 is exhausted. Agencies that
have received any TAMC PNFA reimbursements in 2015 or 2016 are not eligible
for reimbursement for the 2017 program.

The call for reimbursement requests will begin on Wednesday, March 1,
2017 at 8:00 AM and end on Friday, March 3 at 5:00 PM. Please note: verbal
requests or requests submitted before this time-frame will not be included.

For more information on the requirements that must be met to be eligible for reimbursement on locally collected PNFA PASER data collection please click on the following link. TAMC Reimbursement PNFA_2017

If you have any questions on requirements or how to submit data, please contact Roger
Belknap, TAMC Coordinator, at (517) 373-2249 or belknapr@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.

Local Bridge Program Deadline for Applications – May 1, 2017

The Michigan Department of Transportation is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for candidate projects for the Local Bridge Program. Selected projects will be funded during the 2020 fiscal year (FY). Do not submit projects which cannot be committed to construction within FY 2020. The applications can be submitted by the local agency owner or their consultant. All bridge applications submitted in previous years that have not been selected for funding have been discarded. The total number of applications from any one local agency is limited to five.

The FY 2020 Local Bridge Program budget is estimated at $48 million. This amount may be subject to revisions.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, May 1, 2017. Please click here for more information regarding eligibility and submitting candidate Local Bridge Project Applications.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Keith Cooper, Bridge Program Manager, at 517-373-2346 or at cooperk@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.

Michigan Rural Task Force Conference

MDOT is pleased to announce the first annual Michigan Rural Task Force Conference. The conference will be held in Mt. Pleasant at the Comfort Inn located at 2424 S. Mission, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 beginning at 1:00 pm.

Please click on the following link for the conference agenda. RTF Conference 2017 Agenda

To attend please RSVP to Anna Swanson; swansona1@michigan.gov  no later than March 23, 2017. If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Pamela Boyd (517) 335-2803; boydp1@michigan.gov, or Andy Brush (517) 335-2534; brusha@michigan.gov.

For hotel information please click here.

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.

Apply Now: Better Streets, Better Michigan Award

The Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Municipal League are excited to announce the Better Streets, Better Michigan Award. This award recognizes Michigan cities and villages that have undertaken creative road projects. These projects should be aimed at improving the function and aesthetics of a busy street for a variety of transportation modes – cars, bikes, and pedestrians. Examples include road diets, complete streets projects, and similar investments within existing rights of way. The street must be one of the community’s main roadways that was primarily auto-centric at the start of the project.

The award will be judged on:

  • Employing creativity
  • Achieving a positive impact on the community’s economic development and placemaking
  • Partnering with transportation agencies and stakeholders
  • Developing a street project replicable by other communities

Projects accomplished through a team effort between a city or village and MDOT or a local or regional transportation agency are eligible to receive this award. The MDOT Performance Excellence Section will be accepting applications for the award through Feb. 15, 2017. To be eligible, a project must be substantially complete and ready for use between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2016. The 2017 award will be announced at the Michigan Municipal Capital Conference in Lansing on March 22, 2017.

  • Better Streets, Better Michigan Award brochure.
  • Better Streets, Better Michigan Award entry form.

Submit the completed entry form in PDF format. Please note: The application system can only accept one PDF file. If you wish to include photos, they must be within the PDF file.

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.

FCC Threatens to Limit Local Land Use Authority on Wireless Siting

The National League of Cities is requesting the help of Michigan Communities.

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice seeking comment on two topics that could shape the future of city control over their rights-of-way. The FCC’s Wireless Bureau requested public comment on how to streamline the deployment of small wireless facilities, primarily through potential changes to local land-use ordinances, and comment generally on a petition filed by infrastructure company Mobilitie regarding local government rules and procedures.

The public notice raises several major concerns for cities. The first is that the FCC wishes to use this proceeding to reexamine the facts of the decisions made in its 2009 and 2014 rule-makings on local wireless facilities siting, questioning whether the evidence presented by local governments during those proceedings is still valid. Specifically, the notice questions the amount of time needed by local governments to process wireless siting applications for small-cell facilities, particularly when submitted in large quantities. The notice requests feedback on streamlining local regulations when similar applications are submitted as batches. The notice also questions the amount and structure of fees charged by local governments for applications and access to rights-of-way.

NLC will comment on this notice, in collaboration with other local government groups and state municipal leagues, and is calling on cities nationwide to help craft our response. Click here to provide important data on your city’s wireless facility siting process by January 27 and to request a comment template for your city to use in providing your own comment.

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.

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.