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.

2017 Edition of Local Agency Programs Guidelines for Geometrics On Local Agency Projects

The MDOT Local Agency Program (LAP) has posted the 2017 Edition of the Guidelines for Geometrics on Local Agency Projects, as approved by FHWA and replacing the 2014 Edition. A summary of major changes is posted on page A-3 of the 2017 Edition for a quick reference. Designers are encouraged to become familiar with the new Guidelines as they will apply to all Local Agency Projects submitted for funding, beginning with Fiscal Year 2018 funds

The MDOT 2017 LAP Guidelines for Geometrics is posted on the LAP website and can be found by clicking here.

Please feel free to contact Mark Harbison, PE, Urban Program Manager, at 517-335-2744 or by email at harbisonm@michigan.gov with additional questions.

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.

 

Save the Date: 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.

A full agenda and registration information will be be coming soon. For additional information about hotel reservations, contacts and presentations, please click here for the Save the Date flyer.

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.

Federal Budget: Fight the Cuts Toolkit, Take Action Now

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget process continued this May with the release of the administration’s full budget proposal. The proposal, which cuts more than $54 billion in funding for domestic programs that communities rely on, would have major consequences for every city and village in Michigan – regardless of size, location or economic outlook. The administration’s proposal is just the starting point. Congress is currently working to draft their budget and appropriations bills. Now is the time for leaders across this state to come together and send a unified message to Congress that we need a partner who understands the impact of continued federal investment in communities.

We are proud to be working with the National League of Cites to provide you with a Toolkit that includes the following:

The Michigan Municipal League, in partnership with the National League of Cities, is prepared to fight every step of the way — but we’re going to need your help. Use this action guide to learn how the proposed budget cuts could impact your community and how you can advocate for continued federal investments.

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.

Track Federal Funding for Programs Important to Cities and Villages

In its Fiscal Year 2018 budget plan, the administration proposed an unprecedented $54 billion in cuts to federal funding for domestic programs important to cities and towns. Since then, members of the House Appropriations Committee have met to debate funding levels to agencies and specific programs, with some important changes.

As of Monday, July 17, the Committee has finished work on half of the twelve appropriations bills needed to fully fund the federal government. We are very please that  funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was fully restored. The Committee trimmed CDBG funding by $100 million, down to $2.9 billion, which is a drastic reversal from the complete elimination the administration suggested. Other areas of concern still remain though as TIGER grants continue to face complete elimination.

Through our ongoing partnership with the Nation League of Cites they have put together a Federal Budget Tracker for FY18 that takes a detailed look at some of the most important federal programs to cities, and the current state of play for their funding.To learn more on each spending bill please click Federal Budget FY18 Budget Tracker.

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.

Rural STP obligation balance at $19.5 million: Complete biddable packages must be received by August 1!

Local road agencies should be aware that the Rural STP balance is unusually high for this time of year. As of June 27, approximately $19.5 million of local rural obligation authority remains. With the August redistribution right around the corner.

This total includes about $4 million in bid savings on projects already let.

Please submit projects promptly. The RTF Program’s new policy is that all complete biddable packages received by August 1 will be funded.

It is very important that locals spend the full amount of the STP, as only 5 percent may be carried over – about $2 million for this year. If you can identify federal aid projects that could be let this year, your next step will be to identify obligation authority – whether in your own Rural Task Force or another.

If you will not spend your remaining STP obligation dollars, please notify your entire RTF immediately, as well as your planner. We are hopeful that other county and local road agencies have projects that could spend down the funds.

Click here to see the most recent (June 26) spreadsheet that shows obligation remaining (“Unsub Amt”) in the various RTFs. This data will also soon be posted on MDOT’s Local Agency Programs web page.

MDOT cautions the figures are not perfect, as the agency transitioned one of its financial databases earlier this year. You may wish to contact the regional planner for a RTF to determine if they truly have obligation remaining before you proceed.

Obviously, local road agencies do not wish to leave STP dollars on the table but the time is very short to get a project approved!

If you have questions on whether a project is moving forward or need to arrange additional obligation, please contact MDOT: Either Jim Sturdevant at (517) 335-2603 and sturdevant@michigan.gov; or Mark Harrison at (517) 373-2286 and harrisonm@michigan.gov. An alternate contact is Bruce Kadzban at (517) 335-2229 and kadzbanb@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.