MDOT to Offer Free Rural Task Force Training

On behalf of the Rural Task Force Oversight Board and the Education Subcommittee, MDOT is pleased to bring you a free, one-day Rural Task Force training event.  The training will be held in four locations throughout the state.  Also, if you have any specific questions you would like addressed or any issues or concerns you would like included in the presentation, please submit them through this Survey Monkey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LG29VYP.

The dates and locations are as follows:

  • October 18:  Gaylord, University Center, 80 Livingston Blvd, Gaylord 49735
  • October 20:  Marquette, Holiday Inn, 1951 US 41 West, Marquette 49855
  • October 24:  Lansing, Horatio Earl Training Center, 7575 Crowner Dr., Dimondale, MI 48821
  • October 26:  Flint, Flint Mass Transit Administration and Training Facility, 1401 South Dort Highway, Flint 48503

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS:

A block of rooms at state rates have been reserved the night before for each location.  You will need to contact the hotel and make your own reservation.  The block of rooms will be available up to one month prior to the training.  Specific information for each is listed below:

  • Gaylord: Baymont Inn, 510 S Wisconsin Ave, Gaylord, MI 49735 Phone: (989) 731-6331. Use Group ID# 1017RT
  • Marquette, Holiday Inn, 1951 US 41 West, Marquette 49855, (906) 225-1351. Let them know you are with MDOT Rural Task Force training
  • Lansing, SpringHill Suite, 111 South Marketplace Boulevard, Lansing 48917, (517) 627-0002. Use this link:  Book your group rate for MDOT Rural Task Force Training
  • Flint, Holiday Inn Express, 1150 Robert T. Longway, Flint 48503, (810) 238-7744. Use Group:  MDT

REGISTRATION:

Please click on the following links for the Registration Form and Agenda

You should fill out one form per person.  Space may be limited based on the locations.  We will fill the space by first come first serve with priority given to the public sector.  We may need to limit participation to only one person per agency.  Continental breakfast, coffee and lunch will be provided.

There will also be an opportunity to participate in the Lansing session via webinar.  If you are interested please check the webinar line on the registration form and make sure to include your email address.  Information for joining the webinar will be provided in a later email.

If you have any questions, please contact Andy Brush (brusha@michigan.gov) or Betsy Simon (simonb5@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.

Effective Immediately MDOT Prohibits Drone Use Within Their Right-of-Way

In an effort to leverage innovative technologies in a safe and beneficial way for all citizens of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been working with other State of Michigan Agencies to develop policies for appropriate use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations within properties of the State, including MDOT Rights-of-Way. At this time those policies have not been finalized.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, MDOT strictly prohibits the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UVA’s) or drones within MDOT’s Right-of-Way by MDOT employees, contractors and/or subcontractors, consultants and/or subconsultants, suppliers, local road authorities’ employees or their agents, and MDOT permit customers. This does not prohibit local road authorities’ employees or their agents use of this technology within their own Right-of-Way.

MDOT acknowledges that responsible use of this technology is promising for many survey, construction and operation data collection and monitoring activities, and is anticipated to provide many safety, efficiency and cost savings benefits. MDOT will be evaluating and establishing safety and operational protocols, along with necessary processes for the appropriate and effective use of this technology through current on-going academic research. The departments number one priority is the establishment of protocols that will ensure the operations of this technology do not present undue risk to motorists, pedestrians, employees, and property within the ROW in the future.

MDOT will continue to coordinate with the League and other industry partners to develop the guidance, advisories and contract language necessary to allow for the controlled use use of this technology within their ROW in the future.

If you have any questions please contact Steve Cook at 517-636-4094 or cooks9@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.

Governor Vetoes Bill Eliminating Local Cost Sharing with MDOT

On Friday morning the Governor vetoed SB 557. This bill would have eliminated the local cost sharing provision for cities over 25,000 on MDOT projects. The League and the bills sponsor, Senator Knollenberg, worked extremely hard to convince the Legislature that fixing this provision within Act 51 was vitally important to the impacted communities. Ultimately both chambers voted unanimously for its passage.

The League is extremely disappointed with the Governor’s decision to veto this legislation. At a time when our communities can’t even afford to maintain their own roads, the Governor has continued the broken model of forcing communities to shoulder the burden of archaic state policy. In his veto letter, please click the link to review SB 557 Veto Letter, the Governor mischaracterizes the negative impact of SB 557 and calls on the Legislature to enact a comprehensive rewrite of ACT 51 by the end of the year. While we support revising the formula, a full rewrite by the end of the year is very unlikely. We are continuing to work with the Senator to determine our next step to create a more fair and equitable road funding solution for all of our communities.

While the League does not agree with the Governor’s decision to veto this legislation, we are very appreciative of the efforts made by Senator Knollenberg who advocated vigorously on behalf our communities and all 146 members of the Legislature who voted in favor of this bill.

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 Soliciting Applications for Local Safety Program Funds

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of new applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2018 general Local Safety Program. Federal funds for the general Local Safety Program are to be used for highway safety improvements on the local roadway system. All locally controlled roadways, regardless of National Functional Classification, are eligible for the Local Safety Program. The FY 2018 federal budget for this program is estimated at $6,000,000.

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 for the fiscal year. FY 2018 projects are to be developed and obligated between October 1, 2017 and August 25, 2018.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Friday, September 23, 2016. For more information please click the following link. FY 2018 HSIP Safety Program Call Letter

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.

Fiscal Year 2018 Federal High Risk Rural Roads Program Accepting Applications

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2018 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) program. The FY 2018 federal budget for this program is estimated to be $6,000,000.

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 selected FY 2018 HSIP projects). Any non-selected projects submitted under this HRRR call for projects will be automatically rolled over to the general FY 2018 HSIP safety call for projects. Selected HRRR projects are to be obligated in FY 2018; the Local Agency will not be allowed to delay a selected HRRR to a different fiscal year.

Applications are to by electronically submitted or postmarked by Friday, September 2, 2016. For more information please click here.

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.

Bill Eliminating Local Cost Sharing with MDOT Sent to the Governor

Prior to the Legislature breaking for the summer the League was able to secure passage of a significant policy change to Michigan’s transportation funding formula.

Act 51 currently requires that all incorporated cities and villages with a population larger than 25,000 to pay a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s project costs for opening, widening, and improving state trunkline highways within that incorporated city or village. A city or village is required to pay 12.5% of the project cost if their population is greater than 50,000, 11.25% of the project costs if their population is between 40,000 and 50,000, and 8.75% of the project costs if their population is between 25,000 and 40,000. This statute affects 45 cities in Michigan.

SB 557, sponsored by Senator Knollenberg, would eliminate the requirement for incorporated cities and villages greater than 25,000 to cover a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation projects cost. As Michigan works to develop a 21st century transportation network the League believes these 45 cities should no longer be required to subsidize MDOT’s costs for the following reason:

  • All country road agencies and incorporated cities and villages with a population less than 25,000 are not required to pay a portion of MDOT’s project cost creating inequity in the system.
  • The funds used to pay for the cost of these projects comes directly from the 21.8% percent of funding received by cities and villages under Act 51. This results in less than 21.8% of Act 51 funding actually being used on local roads.
  • These matching funds can cost a local road agency a significant portion of their Act 51 funding.
  • Covering these project costs can delay, reduce, or eliminate future rehabilitation or reconstruction projects and significantly hinder a city’s ability to conduct routine maintenance such as snow plowing
  • MDOT’s planning process allocates state spending on projects based on the needs of their system without taking into account a city’s ability to contribute to the cost of those projects as required by Act 51. An unexpected bill from the Department could cripple a city’s local road program for years

This bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

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.

Legislation Impacting Speed Limits Passes the House

Prior to leaving for summer break the House passed five bills, HB 4423, 4424, 4425, 4426, and 4427, that would impact speed limits in Michigan

These bills when first introduce would have required 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. Setting speeds strictly at the 85th percentile 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.

After months of negotiations with the sponsor all of the restrictive language was removed. The 85th percentile of speed still needs to be considered when setting speed limits but additional language was added to ensure that engineering and safety studies could be included as a way to adjust speeds for context.

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 support our communities efforts and ability to provide a safe and inviting environment. The League supports the changes to the legislation and we will be working hard in the Senate to maintain and preserve local control.

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.

Dark Stores Assessment Issue: Time is of the Essence, Contact Lawmakers this Weekend!

Please contact your state Representatives TODAY and leave a message asking for their support of HB 5578, which is the legislative fix to the Dark Stores assessment issue negatively affecting many of our communities. This is an extremely important issue that is already hurting many communities and will likely be impacting your community soon. Use our Action Center to get your Representatives contact information and send them a sample letter that we’ve drafted.

As you may have read, Michigan communities have momentum on this issue thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling Friday that validates the case against the Dark Stores property valuation method. Some people in the state Legislature view this court ruling as a reason for them not to take action on HB 5578. But that is not the case. The court ruling is good news but HB 5578 is still needed because it affirms the decision by the Court of Appeals and sets clear guidelines for the Michigan Tax Tribunal, where this issue originated.

The sponsor of this bill Rep. Dave Maturen has 26 co-sponsors from both parties and it passed out of the House Tax Policy committee in an 11-2 vote.

Please tell your Representatives to take up and vote in support of HB 5578 this week in the State House.

For further information about the bill and the previous committee testimony, please review these Inside 208 articles – “Committee Approves Dark Store Fix – Contact Your Legislator”, “New Dark Stores Solution…”  and “Michigan Municipal League Members Testify…”.  Or visit the League’s Dark Stores Information Page.

Senate Transportation Committee Votes to Eliminate Local Cost Sharing Requirement with MDOT

Act 51 currently requires that all incorporated cities and villages with a population larger than 25,000 to pay a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s project costs for opening, widening, and improving state trunkline highways within that incorporated city or village. A city or village is required to pay 12.5% of the project cost if their population is greater than 50,000, 11.25% of the project costs if their population is between 40,000 and 50,000, and 8.75% of the project costs if their population is between 25,000 and 40,000. This statute affects 45 cities in Michigan.

SB 557, sponsored by Senator Knollenberg, would eliminate the requirement for incorporated cities and villages greater than 25,000 to cover a portion of the Michigan Department of Transportation projects cost. As Michigan works to develop a 21st century transportation network the League believes these 45 cities should no longer be required to subsidize MDOT’s costs for the following reason:

  • All country road agencies and incorporated cities and villages with a population less than 25,000 are not required to pay a portion of MDOT’s project cost creating inequity in the system.
  • The funds used to pay for the cost of these projects comes directly from the 21.8% percent of funding received by cities and villages under Act 51. This results in less than 21.8% of Act 51 funding actually being used on local roads.
  • These matching funds can cost a local road agency a significant portion of their Act 51 funding.
  • Covering these project costs can delay, reduce, or eliminate future rehabilitation or reconstruction projects and significantly hinder a city’s ability to conduct routine maintenance such as snow plowing
  • MDOT’s planning process allocates state spending on projects based on the needs of their system without taking into account a city’s ability to contribute to the cost of those projects as required by Act 51. An unexpected bill from the Department could cripple a city’s local road program for years

This week the Senate transportation committee agreed with the League’s opposition to this provision within Act 51 and unanimously voted to eliminate it.

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 Releases Annual Report

During 2015, the Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) rated the pavement condition of the paved federal-aid eligible roads for the twelfth consecutive year. This effort was achieved through a cooperative effort of individuals from county road commissions, city engineering staffs, the Michigan Department of Transportation, regional planning agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations.

In addition, the TAMC also began rating the pavement conditions of non-federal aid eligible
roads as well. Unfortunately, as you will see from data included in the attached report, the
condition of the public roads in the state continues to deteriorate.

The TAMC also reports on the condition of bridges. The data indicates that the condition of
Michigan bridges has stayed flat, but is forecasted to decline in the future. The report contains specific analysis of this information.

You can visit the TAMC website for a copy of the  2015 Annual Report being featured under the “What’s New” selection on the home page by clicking here.

Both the full and mini versions are also available in the About Us section with all previous reports under Annual Reports and can be accessed by clicking here.

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.