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.

Urge Your Representative to Vote NO on HB 5016

Here is an urgent action alert we’ve sent to our members this morning:

We need your help! The Michigan House is currently working on legislation, HB 5016, that could be voted on this week that the Michigan Municipal League strongly opposes. The bill would require municipalities to reimburse a telecommunications provider a portion of relocation costs if a community fails to notify the provider at least one year in advance of a project that will require relocation of their lines.

Additionally, communities will no longer be able to charge for a permit fee, inspection fee, or survey cost, when a relocation is required. The bill also fails to provide any protection to the municipality if the provider installs or relocates their lines in an area other than allowed by the permit or causes construction delays.

If passed, municipalities would be required to pay a private for-profit company for moving their telecommunication lines within the public right-of-way. Communities are already prohibited from denying the telecommunications access to these public spaces they get to occupy for free. This proposed legislation sets a terrible precedent in this state and could lead to other utility providers, i.e. gas and electric companies, to seek the same deal.

Relocation costs can be very expensive. If communities are required to shoulder a portion of those costs it could result in projects being delayed, scaled back, or even eliminated as a result of this unnecessary, one-sided legislation.

The League encourages you to contact your representative TODAY and tell them to oppose HB 5016 and protect our taxpayers from paying these costs. Go here to get the contact info for your legislators.

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.

USDOT Proposes to Remove Restrictive Design Guidelines

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took an encouraging and surprising step, proposing to ease federally-mandated design standards on many roads, making it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build complete streets that are safer for everyone.

Currently, FHWA has a long list of design criteria that local communities and states must adhere to when building or reconstructing certain roads, unless they choose to go through an arduous process of requesting an exception to do things like line a downtown street with street trees, reduce the width of lanes to add a bike lane, or curve a street slightly to slow traffic and make it safer for people in cars and on foot.

In this new proposed rule, FHWA decided after a thorough review to scrap 11 of 13 current design criteria for certain roads because they decided these criteria have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets” and has a stronger connection for rural roads, freeways and higher speed urban arterials.

FHWA deserves praise for their leadership on this important issue. The rule is open to public comment through December 7, 2015. Let’s take the opportunity to provide public comment and thank FHWA for their leadership and make sure it is implemented to help make safer streets for all to enjoy.

For more information click here.

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.

Legislature Considering Bills That Would Remove Local Control Over Setting Speed Limits

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is considering five bills, HB 4423, 4424, 4425, 4426, and 4427, that would dramatically impact the ability of local units to set safe and context sensitive speed limits within their municipal boundaries.

HB 4425 would require that speed limits be set at the 85th percentile of speed. Fundamentally, we believe that all users of the roadway should be taken into account when setting a speed limit. The 85th speed study within this legislation is set up to look only at the free-flow of traffic, under ideal conditions, and on the fastest portion of the roadway. We believe this completely neglects taking the context of the roadway, the surrounding environment, pedestrian traffic (walking or biking), transit, or the views and needs of the community into account.

When we look at the 85th percentile of speed, it should be a diagnosis not a prescription. It can be a useful and rational tool to help understand speeds on on local streets but should not be looked at as the only solution. Other states incorporate a broad number of mitigation criteria that allow flexibility to lower speed limits below the 85th percentile of speed. Too often we talk just about increasing the speed to the 85th percentile for safety reasons but rarely do we talk about how we could reduce the 85th percentile so everyone using the roadway is safer.

Each community is best suited to understand local conditions that place children, the disabled, seniors and other vulnerable roadway users in harm’s way, and we are opposed to any attempt that diminishes our communities efforts and ability to provide a safe and inviting environment.

We encourage you to reach out to your legislator and ask that they do not take away local control over our ability to set speed limits. Additionally you may choose to adopt a resolution such as Grand Haven and Grandville have done and share that with your legislator.

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.