Intelligent Transportation Society of America 2018 Call for Papers/Sessions is Now Open

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) is now accepting papers for its 27th Annual Meeting, taking place June 4-7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

This year’s Program Committee is looking for high-quality papers for the Annual Meeting technical program to narrate this year’s theme, “Transportation 2.0” Papers should be related to one of the six main topics:

  • Connectivity, Autonomy and the Future of Transportation
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Opportunities and Challenges
  • Electrification and Infrastructure
  • Regulatory and Financial Challenges Related to Deployment of ITS Technologies
  • The Impacts & Opportunities of Big Data
  • Transportation Systems Operation

The thought behind this year’s theme is that OEM’s, suppliers, and technology firms are in a race to modernize our current transportation systems. These changes will bring about adaptations in how people fundamentally interact with transportation, with how they provide and receive goods and services. What new business models will rise from these changes? What challenges? Will modalities be combined? These are the overarching questions that are vital to prepare markets, governments, and researchers for the future.

For more information on how to submit paper to ITS America 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.

Line Relocation Bill Stalls in the House

Over the past several years the telecommunication industry has attempted to have legislation passed that would require local municipalities to cover the cost of relocation their lines, waive permit fees and provide one year a notice on any project that would require relocation. A similar bill was introduced this year, HB 5098, but it did not include the requirement cover the cost of relocation.

This bill was voted out of committee just prior to the legislature leaving for break, but stalled on the House floor. The League, along with the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties, the Country Road Association and the Michigan Association of Country Drain Commissioners all spoke in opposition to the legislation. We also submitted a joint letter opposing the bill which can be viewed at the flowing link. HB 5098 Assoc Opposition Letter Final Version

The key concerns we have with the bill are as follows:

  • Would not allow city or village to charge a permit fee for relocation resulting in local governments subsidizing for-profit industry.
  • Requires a one year advance notification of any project that result in relocation, but does not require any action by the provider after they receive notice to communicate with the municipality. We could still find ourselves in situations where a new road is being cut only weeks after it is finished.
  • There are no penalties for a provider that does not follow the terms of the permit or causes construction delays.
  • The proponents of the legislation say that it will help expand broadband services but the bill does nothing to guarantee that will happen.
  • The is in direct conflict with the coordinated planning pilots and asset management efforts of the Governor and instead singles out one select industry within the right-of-way.

Once the legislature returns from break we anticipate there will be a continued effort to get this legislation passed in the House. The League and its local government partners will continue to push back against those efforts. We ask that if you see or speak with you legislator over break to let them know that this bill does nothing but add addition burdens and costs to local government.

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 Wetland Mitigation Grant Program Accepting Application

The much awaited local wetland mitigation grant program (MiWB) is up and running. Applications are now available on their website at www.MiWB.org. After enabling legislation was passed in 2016, this new program was launched in 2017 to help local road agencies handle wetland mitigation banking

Please look at the website to review links, documents and other information that can help guide you through the application process. Except for the simplest projects, or those where their is already sufficient data, you are encouraged to apply only for preliminary engineering and design (a feasibility study) as your first step.

Since this is a new application, there will be a learning curve for everyone involved, and the program is committed to making improvements as needed. To work through any issues you may be having please contact the Wetland Banking Manager, Jeff Silagy, at jsilagy@miwetlandbank.org or 989-390-2378.

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.

DEQ to Host a Public Information Session November 29th Regarding Proposed Changes to the State Lead and Copper Rule

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is hosting a public information session regarding proposed changes to the state Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).  .

When:  Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

5 to 6 p.m.        Opportunity for public one-on-one Q&A and resource table displays
6 to 6:45 p.m.   Formal presentation on proposed LCR reforms
6:45 to 8 p.m.   Public Q&A

Where: Lansing Center, Ballrooms 5-8
333 E. Michigan Ave
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Why:    The purpose of the public information session is to provide information to and answer questions from the public regarding proposed changes to the state LCR.  After all questions received on Nov. 29 are evaluated, final proposed rules will be made available at least 30 days in advance of the formal public hearing in January, which is tentatively scheduled for the last week of that month.

The Michigan Municipal League is a participant on the LCR Stakeholder Workgroup that is assisting MDEQ with recommendations to address modifications to the Administrative Rules promulgated pursuant to Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399, as amended. The ongoing discussion continues to be about how to best protect the public from lead exposure, but unfortunately the preliminary draft rules add additional burdens to community water supply systems that run counter to the principals of asset management and may ultimately hinder the protection of public health.

The draft rule would reduce the action level from 15 parts per billion down to 10 parts per billion, require communities to map their existing system to identify the presence of lead, require that a community water supplier be responsible for the replacement and cost of a private lead service lines, and many other requirements that could pose significant hardships on a community. The League has taken a stance that we are not opposed to determining how much lead is in our systems or the need to systematically begin removing the lead from our systems, but it cannot be done in such a way that reduces our ability to improve the overall performance of the system, causes a financial hardship or conflicts with the Headlee Amendment or the Bolt decision.

Link to the Preliminary Draft Rule: 2017 Preliminary Draft Lead and Copper Rule

Link to the DEQ Summary Document: Summary Lead and Copper Rule Requirements

The Governor has requested this be placed on an aggressive timeline and a finalized draft rule should be ready by the first of the year. Should our concerns not be addressed through the stakeholder process we will need to be prepared to offer public comments on the rule in early January. In the mean time we will continue to work with those stakeholders that have common concerns with the process and draft rules to make the necessary adjustment to help prevent exposure to lead while still allowing for the efficient management of our water supply systems.

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.

Performance Audits No Longer a Requirement for Local Road Agencies

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has re-evaluated its decision regarding performance audits. Upon receiving numerous audits as well as concerns regarding the value of these audits, MDOT is no longer requesting that these audits be completed and submitted to the department. Therefore, all local road agencies are not required to begin or complete any scheduled Act 51 performance audits.

It has been further determined by the Department that costs incurred related to these performance audits can be submitted to MDOT for reimbursement. Invoices for fees paid for the performance audit and supporting documentation should be submitted to the attention of Patrick McCarthy by email at mccarthyp@michigan.gov.

For a copy of the letter please click the following link. MDOT Performance Audit Letter

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.

 

MDOT Seeking Input From Local Agencies on Construction Services by October 20

The League is working with MDOT to get your feedback!  The department would like to engage in a more consistent and aligned approach to satisfying their duty of ensuring local agency program compliance with state and federal requirements.  In order to do so, They need to identify areas of construction oversight inconsistencies and gauge the effectiveness of current activities, guidance, and processes.  Your feedback will help them identify things that work well, and more importantly, areas they need to improve.  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at https://www.research.net/r/X2766XJ

The survey will be open until October 20, 2017.  Anyone who works on Local Agency Program projects, in particular the construction side of things, is welcome to participate.  Responses are not limited to one per agency. Please also feel free to share this survey with your consultants as well.

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.

$500 million federal TIGER program accepting grant applications for road projects; due October 16

The federal government has announced it is now accepting applications for the FY 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, with $500 million in available funds for infrastructure projects including roads.

The application deadline for the 2017 TIGER solicitation is October 16.

The Department of Transportation will hold public two webinars:

  • September 13 and 19, 2 – 4 p.m., on “How to Compete for TIGER Grants;” and
  • September 18, 2 – 4 p.m., on “Preparing a Benefit Cost Analysis.”

To register for the free webinars, please visit the TIGER Webinar Series webpage.

Additional information about the TIGER program is available at the TIGER website. Questions may be directed to Ryan Brumfield, 202.366.2639, ryan.brumfield@dot.gov, in the TIGER program office or to FHWA TIGER program staff Sam Snead, 202.366.0857, sam.snead@dot.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.

MDOT kicking off 2018 Local Grade Crossing Surface Program; applications due October 27

MDOT provides funding assistance for highway-railroad grade crossing surface improvements on local roads. This annual program offers 60% funding for eligible projects, with railroads responsible for the remaining 40% of costs. Projects are selected in compliance with criteria established by state law.

After a successful launch in 2017, 2018 Local Grade Crossing Surface Program announcement letters are being mailed to all railroads and road agencies with active highway-railroad grade crossings within Michigan.

The 2018 Call for Projects opened in early September, with program letters containing additional details mailed to road authorities and railroads. Application materials for road agencies are now available, with a deadline for submittals of October 27, 2017. Project selections are expected to be confirmed by late November, with authorizations scheduled to be issued in time for the 2018 construction season. The 2017 Program had over 130 applications resulting in more than 70 approved projects to improve local crossing surfaces.

2018 Application
Sample Surface Program Railroad Authority Letter
Sample Surface Program Road Authority Letter

Questions about the program should be directed to Kristian Foondle, MDOT Local Grade Crossing Program Manager, at foondlek@michigan.gov. Click here for a list of railroad contacts

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.

 

Full Agenda Released for 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.

The full agenda and registration information has been released and can be found here. Additional information about hotel reservations is also provided.

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.

Draft Michigan Freight Plan Comment Period/Webinar Opportunity on September 12th

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to release for public review and comment the draft Michigan Freight Plan, a supplement to the 2040 MI Transportation Plan. MDOT is seeking comments on the plan through Sep. 29 and has scheduled a Sep. 12 Webinar to discuss it in detail. The plan is available for viewing online at www.michigan.gov/freightplan or at MDOT’s region offices and Transportation Service Centers. Comments can be made electronically at the above link, or by writing Geralyn Ayers, Public Involvement and Hearings Officer, Bureau of Highway Development, Michigan Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909.

The Michigan Freight Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and the investments required to ensure long-term success. Freight is defined as any good, product or raw material carried by commercial transportation, including air, highway, rail, water and pipeline.

A multi-modal and intermodal resource, the plan provides an overall framework for freight system improvements and priorities. It is an element of the 2040 MI Transportation Plan and integrates its overall vision, goals, objectives, strategies and decision-making principles.

The public Webinar is scheduled for 9 to 10 a.m., Sep. 12. To participate, please register at the Freight Plan website at www.michigan.gov/freightplan or by calling (517) 373-2227. Details, including Web address and audio connection information will be sent with E-mail confirmation. Copies of the plan also may be obtained by calling Geralyn Ayers at (517) 373-2227.

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.