NLC Gears Up for Infrastructure Week 2017

Now in its fifth year, the National League of Cities (NLC) is once again participating in Infrastructure Week, May 15-19. Infrastructure Week is a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around one message: It’s #TimeToBuild.

NLC will host several events during Infrastructure Week highlighting the need for Congress to directly invest in local infrastructure, including:

  • An infrastructure advocacy action. As NLC leaders and our allies converge on Capitol Hill, join us from home to tell Congress to invest in cities.
  • An event discussing resilient water management on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 16 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, the Value of Water Campaign, and World Resources Institute.
  • A panel discussion on the importance of local infrastructure investments at the National City-County Leadership Center on Wednesday, May 17 at 10:00am EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the US Conference of Mayors.
  • An event highlighting outstanding examples of infrastructure projects nationwide on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 17 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by the Big 7 state and local government associations.
  • An event discussing the importance of broadband in building smart communities at the National City-County Leadership Center on Thursday, May 18 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, NACo, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
  • A panel discussion on the current landscape of autonomous vehicle research and technology development at the National City-County Leadership Center on Friday, May 19 at 10:00am EDT. This event is hosted by NLC and the National Association of Regional Councils.

Visit www.nlc.org/InfrastructureWeek for more information on NLC’s activities or email your questions to advocacy@nlc.org.

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.

2019 Federal Local Safety Program Solicits Applications

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of new applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 general Local (HSIP) Safety Program. The FY 2019 federal budget for this program is estimated at $9,000,000. This amount may be subject to revisions. Unselected FY 2019 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) projects will automatically be included in this Call.

Local Agencies may submit more than one project application for consideration. Federal safety funds shall not exceed $600,000 per project or a maximum amount of $2,000,000 per Local Agency, HSIP, and HRRR combined, for the fiscal year. Selected projects are to be obligated in FY 2019.

Application are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, August 7, 2017. Please click here for additional information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Blazo, Local Agency Programs Safety Engineer, at 517-335-2224 or at blazop@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.

2019 Federal High Risk Rural Road Program Call for Application

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) program. Federal funds for the HRRR program are apportioned from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and derived from the HRRR Special Rule under 23 USC 148(g)(l), The FY 2019 federal appropriation for this program is estimated to be $6,000,000. This amount may be subject to revisions.

Local agencies are allowed to submit more than one project for consideration. Federal safety funds shall not exceed $600,000 per project or a maximum amount of $2,000,000 per Local Agency for the fiscal year, including any select FY 2019 HSIP projects. Any non-selected projects submitted under this HRRR call for projects will automatically rolled over to the general FY 2019 HSIP safety call for projects. Selected HRRR projects are to be obligated in FY 2019; the Local Agency will not be allowed to delay a selected HRRR to a different year.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, August 7, 2017. Please click here for additional information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Blazo, Local Agency Programs Safety Engineer, at 517-335-2224 or at blazop@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 Transportation Asset Management Council Releases Annual Road and Bridge Report

This week the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council released their annual road and bridge report. The report summarizes road and bridge conditions and provides condition projections into the future. The report also provides a synopsis of TAMC program activities and events over the past year.

During 2016, the TAMC rated the pavement condition of the paved federal-aid eligible
roads for the twelfth consecutive year. This data collection included 57,961 lane miles of paved roads in Michigan, including State Freeways and Highways, City Major Streets and County Primary Roads. This effort was achieved through a cooperative effort of individuals from county road commissions, city and village engineering staffs, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), regional planning agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations. In addition, the TAMC also collected pavement conditions on some of Michigan’s paved non-federal aid eligible roads as well.

In terms of physical condition, the report reveals further deterioration of Michigan’s
federal aid eligible roads from the previous year with more miles being rated as “poor.” The 2016 condition data indicates 18% of these roads are in good condition, 43% are in fair condition, and 39% are in poor condition; in 2015, the breakdown was 17% good, 45% fair, and 38% poor.

The 2016 report was approved by the TAMC on April 26, and can be viewed at this link: http://tamc.mcgi.state.mi.us/TAMC/#/aboutus Once there, scroll down to “Annual Reports” to find the 2016 Report as well as other past reports.  There is also a Mini Version of the 2016 Report, which contains the Executive Summary, charts and forecasts of road and bridge conditions.

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.

Congress Reaches Short Term Budget Deal, Administration Proposes Tax Overhaul

Congress has reached a short-term budget deal that adheres to existing overall spending levels and, for the most part, preserves funding for city priorities. Due to the advocacy efforts of the League, NLC and many other stakeholders, Congress did not adopt any of the mid-year cuts that had been proposed by the Trump Administration. This ensures cities will not face unanticipated shortfalls or systematic clawbacks of spent-out FY17 federal funds.

Key programs the budget deal maintains funding for are CDBG and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Specific program outcomes are presented below and indicates whether funding was Decreased, Preserved, or Increased.

Transportation

  • TIGER: Preserved
  • Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Grants: Increased
  • Essential Air Services: Preserved

Housing

  • CDBG: Preserved
  • Homeless Assistance: Preserved
  • Housing Assistance Vouchers: Preserved

Labor / Education / Health

  • AmeriCorps (Corporation for National Community Service): Preserved
  • IMLS (Library Services): Increased
  • Job Corps: Preserved
  • LIHEAP (Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program): Preserved
  • SSBG (Social Services Block Grant): Preserved
  • CCDBG (Child Care Development Block Grant): Increased
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Increased
  • State Response to the Opioid Abuse services: Increased to $500 million

Interior-EPA

  • Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs: Preserved
  • Brownfields: Preserved
  • Superfund: Preserved
  • WIFIA: Preserved
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Preserved

Energy-Water

  • Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Increased

Commerce

  • Economic Development Administration Funding: Increased
  • U.S. Census: Increased

Justice / Homeland

  • New funding for countering heroin and opioid epidemic: Increased to $103 million
  • State Local Law Enforcement Grants: Decreased $128 million to $2.08 billion
    •  Byrne JAG: Decreased by $150 million to $1.26 billion
    •  Community Oriented Policing (COPS): Increased
    • Juvenile Justice: Decreased by $23 million to $247 million
    • Violence Against Women Act: Increased
  • State and Local Homeland Security grants: Preserved
    • Urban Area Security Initiative: Increased
    • Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis: Decreased by $10 million to $178 million
    •  Predisaster Mitigation Fund: Preserved
    • Assistance to Fire Fighters and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants: Increased
  • Sanctuary Cities: No change to current law

Agriculture

  • Rural Water and waste Water: Preserved
  • Rural Housing: Increased

Additionally, the Trump Administration released their framework for tax reform. In a call with NLC staff late last week, the outline provided for the Administration’s tax overhaul proposal appears to eliminate all state and local income tax deductions, only preserving the charitable and mortgage exemptions.  What was not included in the proposal was any mention of eliminating the tax-free status of municipal bonds.  NLC staff view this omission as a big victory and their contacts in the White House have indicated that municipal bond tax status will not be addressed within a tax reform conversation.  Instead, this issue will be included in the infrastructure spending plan that will likely be a September conversation for the Administration.

The League will continue to work with NLC to show our support for local government priorities in the areas of tax reform, infrastructure and the federal budget.

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 Chapter APWA Great Lakes Expo May 23-25 at Grand Traverse Resort

The Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) will be hosting its annual Great Lakes Expo beginning Tuesday, May 23rd, with educational sessions continuing on May 24th and 25th. The Expo will offer three session tracts for those in Public Works: Management, Operations and Fleet Maintenance. This year’s theme, “Headliners in Public Works”, is embodied in Tim Skubick’s, WWJ Newsradio 950, keynote address in which he will dive into the realm of managing public relations. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive a Michigan Legislative Update from the League’s lobbyist and a Federal Legislative Update from Marty Williams, APWA National. Additional session topics will include:

  • Green Infrastructure Financing,
  • Trenchless Technologies for Water Main,
  • Utilizing Mobile GIS,
  • OMID Project Overview
  • Infrastructure Remaining Useful Life Planning,
  • Intelligent Public Works and Organizational Culture,
  • Workzone Safety,
  • Non-motorized Trail Crossing Design,
  • Application of “Lean” Processing in Public Works,
  • Tier 4 Emission Requirement Update,
  • Various equipment maintenance updates

To register for the Great Lakes Expo, visit http://michigan.apwa.net/, call (248) 370-0000 or e-mail tspencer@bellequip.com.

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 Conference May 25 in Mt. Pleasant

The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) will sponsor
the 2017 Spring Asset Management Conference on Thursday, May 25, at the Mt. Pleasant
Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 2424 S. Mission Street, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The conference will once again provide a forum for state and local officials to examine the relationship between asset management and the condition of road and highway infrastructure.

With a theme of “From Policy to Practice,” the conference will focus on examples of best
practices at the national, state and local levels, and will offer attendees practical guidance on how agencies are managing transportation infrastructure using condition inventory forecasting and the incorporation of other utility data. This year’s conference will also feature panel conversations from leaders involved with the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, Michigan’s newly created Infrastructure Asset Management Pilot Advisory Board, and bridge management experts from Michigan’s leading transportation agencies.

Conference registration is being handled by the Michigan Local Technical Assistance
Program (LTAP) by phone at 906-487-2102 or e-mail at ctt@mtu.edu. Registration also can be done online by clicking here. For hotel information and reservations please click here. Seating is limited so early registration is encouraged.

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 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.