House Appropriations Committee Votes out Transportation Budget

The House Appropriations Committee voted out HB 5313 which included the transportation budget today by a vote 19-0 with all Democrats abstaining. Adjustments we made to the budget to reflect the changes that Speaker Bolger is proposing to increase funding to roads. As a result $391 million in general fund dollars will be appropriated to the transportation budget.

Many of the details are yet to be worked out and the League continues to have concerns about the use of general fund dollars supporting an increase in road funding. This budget also represents an increase in funding that still falls significantly short of the actual increase needed to support our transportation system. We hope to work with the Speaker and others on this issue to provide a long term funding solution that meets the infrastructure needs of this state.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

House Transportation Committee Takes Testimony on Speaker Bolger’s Road Funding Plan

The House Transportation Committee took testimony today from Speaker Bolger on his $450 million road funding plan.

The plan focused on four specific subject areas: increasing efficiencies, improving quality, improving fairness and investing current resources. That’s different from other plans that have focused on tax increases to improve the state’s roads.

The proposal includes ending the 19 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 15 cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel and replacing them with a 6 percent tax on the price of fuel at the wholesale level. This would be a revenue neutral change for gasoline and raise $47 million in new revenue from those buying diesel fuel.

The proposal also includes efficiency measures such as more competitive bidding for local road agencies and the Department of Transportation and requiring all projects more than $5 million to have a minimum five-year warranty.

The plan would also increase fees on permits for overweight and oversize trucks, a move that would raise $4.5 million.

The Michigan Municipal League believes that one of the most important aspects of creating a vibrant state is to have a quality transportation system. Unfortunately an additional $450 million annually falls far short of solving this problem long term. We hope to work with the Speaker and others on this issue to provide a long term funding solution that meets the infrastructure needs of this state.

The following link is a document made available by the House Republicans to help illustrate their plan.

Building Roads 4-14       

The League will continue to update our members on the specifics of this plan as more details become available.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Speaker Bolger Unveils New Michigan Transportation Funding Plan

A new plan from House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) would increase the state’s annual investment in its roadways by at least $500 million annually.

Unveiled today, the plan would do that, in part, by converting the state’s flat gas tax to a tax based on a percentage of the wholesale price and by dedicating some current sales tax and use tax revenue to transportation needs.

The plan focused on four specific subject areas: increasing efficiencies, improving quality, improving fairness and investing current resources. That’s different from other plans that have focused on tax increases to improve the state’s roads.

The proposal includes ending the 19 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 15 cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel and replacing them with a 6 percent tax on the price of fuel at the wholesale level. This would be a revenue neutral change for gasoline and raise $47 million in new revenue from those buying diesel fuel.

The proposal also includes efficiency measures such as more competitive bidding for local road agencies and the Department of Transportation and requiring all projects more than $5 million to have a minimum five-year warranty.

The plan would also increase fees on permits for overweight and oversize trucks, a move that would raise $4.5 million.

The Michigan Municipal League believes that one of the most important aspects of creating a vibrant state is to have a quality transportation system. Unfortunately an additional $500 million annually falls far short of solving this problem long term. We hope to work with the Speaker and others on this issue to provide a long term funding solution that meets the infrastructure needs of this state without potentially putting local funds in jeopardy.

The following links are two documents made available by the House Republicans to help illustrate their plan.

Building Roads 4-14          Road Funding board

The League will continue to update our members on the specifics of this plan as more details become available.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Asset Management Guide for Local Agency Bridges Training Workshop

REMINDER: there is still one more opportunity for you to participate in the free Asset Management Guide for Local Agency Bridges training workshop scheduled for: Thursday, April 24, 2014, 9:00AM – 4:00PM at the Holiday Inn, Marquette, MI. In an effort to accommodate participants, the training session in Marquette will be offered via Webinar in addition to on-site participation.

For more information on how to sign up please click on the following link. Local Bridge Owner Invite Reminder.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Michigan Traffic Incident Management Effort Train the Trainer Launch

Michigan is looking for high qualified trainers to be trained to teach Traffic Incident Management to First Responders and supporting operations. A new coordinated, multi-disciplinary training program developed through the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) will be deployed in Michigan and available for all first responders supporting Traffic Incident Management operations. The training puts firefighters, police, state and local departments of transportation, towing, medical personnel and other incident responders on the same page, leading to a safer, faster, integrated responder team. In Michigan the program will be known as Mi-TIME – Michigan Traffic Incident Management Effort.

Six injury crashes occur approximately every hour in Michigan, putting first responders potentially in harm’s way every day. Congestion from these incidents often generates secondary crashes, further increasing traveler delay and frustration. The longer incident responders remain at the scene, the greater the risk they, and the traveling public, face. Minimizing the time and resources required for incident clearance is essential to meeting our goals for safety and reliability.

This training can be taught in many different ways; participants can attend a 10 hour intensive course, a four-hour modified version and single-lesson modules. Most states that have deployed this training are doing the 4 hours modified versions. This training has been deployed to over 33 states.

Michigan will be having three train the trainer session, the first being held in Lansing on May 28 &29 for a day and half. Once the trainers are certified they will be responsible to teach in their region(s). Please apply to be a trainer by filling out the application(two different formats posted below) and returning to Angie Kremer at KremerA@michigan.gov. To be considered for the Lansing Trainer the Trainer Session please have applications in by April 15, 2014 for the Lansing Train the Trainer.

Mi TIME – Application-Commitment     Mi TIME – Application-Commitment

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Updated Local Agency Program Application Made Available by MDOT

Effective April 1, 2014, the updated MDOT Local Agency Program Application Forms 0258, 0259, and 0260 were activated and made available on the MDOT Local Agency Program (LAP) website here as well as at the MDOT Forms page here.

The forms were updated mainly to:

• request information from the local agency regarding whether its project includes work in any MDOT right of way, or whether the proposed work affects any existing traffic signals or pedestrian signals. This information will allow MDOT LAP staff engineers to determine whether other MDOT units need to be involved in the project.

• revise ROW Attachments A and B, defining “property acquisition” as “permanent fee, permanent easements, temporary consents to construct, and grading permits”, hopefully resulting in a less confusing definition

• include space for the local agencies to list their designated Certified Computerized Office Technician (page 10 of each form), in accordance with current Bureau Of Highway Informational Memoranda (BOHIM)

• provide consistency in fonts and type faces

• changed references to the Transportation Alternative funding program

• correct several fields which were auto-filling incorrectly

Local agencies should begin using these forms as soon as possible, so that they can identify their certified computerized office technician and comply with the BOHIM.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Bruce Kadzban, MDOT LAP Rural and Enhancement Program Manager, at 517-335-2229 or at kadzbanb@michigan.gov.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

Senate Transportation Committee Take Testimony on Michigan’s Cold Weather Crisis

Today the Senate Transportation Committee took testimony on the affects this year’s harsh winter has had on water and sewer infrastructure in the state of Michigan. Communities all across this state have been dealing with frozen service leads, frozen water and sewer mains, let run orders, and many other strains on their water and sewer systems because of the extreme cold. The committee hearing helped shine some light on the on this problem and raised the attention of legislators in attendance.

There are very serious and real implications. Municipal budgets, residents, and workers are all feeling the affects. The Municipal League is fully committed to working with our communities, the Legislature, and the Governor to help those who are affected. Thank you to all of the communities who helped further explain the severity of this crisis by participated in today’s hearing.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

House and Senate Transportation Budgets Include More Money For Locals

Both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee’s on Transportation reported out their budgets with additional money for local road agencies. Each of these budgets included an additional $115 million in a one-time general fund appropriation that will be distributed through the formula. As a result cities and villages across this state will see an increase of $25 million in the next fiscal year.

These budget recommendations will now go before the full appropriations committee for a vote. The League is supportive of these changes and would like to thank Chairman Papageorge and Chairman VerHeulen for their leadership on this issue.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Media Throughout Michigan Report on Great Revenue Sharing Heist Study by Michigan Municipal League

League members talk with the media at a press event about revenue sharing at EVIP March 18 in Lansing.

Media from all parts of Michigan have reported on the Michigan Municipal League’s revenue sharing study that showed the state has diverted $6.2 billion from local communities in the last decade. The League released the study last week during our Capital Conference and sent press releases to dozens of media outlets.

Here is a sampling of some of the articles done so far:
- Michgian cities slam state for holding onto $6.2 billion: Detroit News

- Michigan’s $6.2 billion raid on revenue sharing? See how much local communities lost since 2003: mlive.com statewide

- Wyandotte’s deficit tied to decline in state revenue sharing: The News Heard, the Voice of Downriver

- Revenue sharing could have kept Lincoln Park out of financial crisis, officials say: The News Heard, the Voice of Downriver

- Macomb cities lost more than $100 million due to state cuts: Macomb Daily Tribune

- Michigan Municipal League says Legislature diverted funding; Midland loses $10.9 million: Midland Daily News

- Our View: State turning corner on revenue sharing: Midland Daily News editorial

- Report says Flint lost out on nearly $55 million in revenue sharing in last decade: Flint Journal/mlive.com

- Six things Flint could have paid for with $55 million in revenue sharing: Flint Journal/mlive.com

- Michigan Cities contend lost $6.2 billion in lost revenue: Metro Times, Detroit

The League study showed that communities from Marquette to St. Joseph and everywhere in between are among the Michigan cities and villages that lost hundreds of millions of dollars in statutory revenue sharing over the past decade because the governor and Legislature diverted the funds to the state budget.

If the funds had not been diverted by state lawmakers, the fiscal crises facing many local Michigan communities today might not be so severe.

Statutory revenue sharing funds are earmarked by state law for local communities across Michigan to support essential local services including police and fire, water systems, road maintenance, parks and libraries, and more. The funds represent a percentage of sales tax revenues collected at the local levels. Instead, between 2003 and 2013, the governor and Legislature diverted $6.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing from local communities to plug holes in the state budget and to pay for tax cuts for businesses.

Much of this data was also included in the March/April 2014 edition of the Michigan Municipal League Review magazine for an article titled, “The Great Revenue Sharing Heist” by Anthony Minghine, associate executive director and chief operations officer for the Michigan Municipal League. The article is available at mml.org: http://www.mml.org/advocacy/great-revenue-sharing-heist.html.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

$215 Million for Roads Receives Governor’s Signature

(Update: View a joint press release on this issue)

SB 608 has been signed by the Governor. The bill includes $215 million in general fund dollars for roads. Of that $215 million, $100 million will be distributed through the Act 51 formula to local road agencies to be used on maintenance as a result of this years harsh winter. It requires that the $100 million in special winter road maintenance funds be used only for road maintenance, excluding administrative, overhead, and other indirect costs.  The remaining $115 million will be used for priority road projects identified by individual lawmakers and prioritized by the Legislature’s leadership. An amendment was adopted that states if the money for priority road projects is not obligated by July 1, 2014 the remaining balance would be distributed through the Act 51 formula.

The League is very appreciative of the efforts of the legislature to deliver additional road funding to our local communities during this time of need. The League would also like to thank our members who took the time to contact their legislator on this issue. The following link will provide the amount each city and village will receive from the $100 million after it is distributed through the formula.

$100 Million Breakdown for Cities and Villages

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.