Reach Out! Encourage House Members to Vote Yes on the Senate Passed Transportation Funding Package

On Tuesday (11/25) Speaker of the House, Jase Bolger, put forward a new transportation funding plan. The plan would remove the 6% sales tax now charged on fuel sales (at 1% per year), while at the same time converting the 19-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over the same period. The result would be an extra $1 billion a year in revenue that would be devoted to roads. The plan does not provide for a replacement for the lost sales tax revenue that goes to local government and schools ($75M for constitutional revenue sharing alone). The Speaker theorizes that sales tax revenue is projected to grow by more than $200 million annually because of economic growth in Michigan, meaning schools and local governments would not be hurt by the gradual removal of the 6% sales tax from gasoline sales.

This plan is significantly different than the package of bills passed by the Senate that would increase transportation funding by nearly $1.5 billion over the next four years and is currently awaiting a vote in the House. Please consider reaching out to your Representative and ask them to support the transportation funding plan passed by the Senate. The message to your state Representative is simple:

  • Vote yes on the Senate passed transportation funding package.
  • We need a real increase in funds for roads, bridges and transit and we will not support any plan that would jeopardize local revenue.
  • Pass the increase approved by the Senate and we in local government will support your vote!

Please click on the following link for more information on the Senate plan and a breakdown of the increase in revenue each municipality would receive from HB 5477, which brings in the bulk of the new revenue by increasing the gas tax incrementally over 4 years. Transportation Package Information Sheet

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 Senate Votes for New Funding for Transportation!

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

In a huge vote, the Michigan Senate has just passed HB 5477, a bill that would phase in a new percentage-based gasoline tax that will result in an additional $1.2 billion for transportation funding by 2019. Revenue from other bills in this package result in transportation increases as high as $1.5 billion annually once fully phased in.

The bill would replace the current cents per gallon structure, which is 19 cents per gallon on gasoline and 15 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. Under the bill, the percentage tax on gas would start at 9.5 percent as of April 1, 2015. It would increase to 11.5 percent on January 1, 2016; to 13.5 percent on January 1, 2017; and to 15.5 percent on January 1, 2018.

Thank you to all of our members who reached out to their Senator asking them to support this important legislation. The bill will now need to be approved by the House. Our advocacy efforts cannot end here. We encourage you to immediately begin reaching out to your House member and ask them to vote yes on House Bill 5477 as approved by the Senate.

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.

Contact Michigan Senators Today to Urge Their Support of Transportation Funding Increase

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

Discussions are currently taking place in Lansing on finding a way to raise new revenue for Michigan’s transportation network during the current lame duck legislative session.

House Bill 5477 is a key piece to this new revenue.

It would switch the current cents per gallon tax on fuel to a percentage based tax on the wholesale price and gradually increase that percentage over the next several years.

The proposed funding solution is a nine-bill package that would provide yearly increases to transportation funding and would reach $1.5 billion in new annual revenue by 2020.

Legislators have an incredible opportunity to solve Michigan’s transportation needs and develop a comprehensive solution for investing in Michigan’s infrastructure.

Michigan can no longer wait for a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

Michigan can no longer wait for a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

This plan would not only invest in roads and bridges, but would provide additional funds for public transit, trails, ports, and rail. Download the Michigan Can’t Wait flyer.

The Senate could take this up for a vote as soon as Thursday (Nov. 13, 2014) and we need your help. Please contact your Senator and let them know that you are supportive of increasing transportation revenue and the positive impact it will have on your community. We are on the verge transforming our transportation system and you can help ensure its successful passage.

To make it as easy as possible for you, we’ve drafted a sample email that you can edit and send to your senators.

To access this tool, go to our action center here and click on the item in the blue Action Alert! box.

A comprehensive transportation funding system is one of the four key parts of the Michigan Municipal League’s Partnership for Place initiative released in 2013. Read more about why this is important here.

This blog post was by John LaMacchia II, legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League. John can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

Changes to MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Signed by the Governor

Senate Bill 882 has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act 301 of 2014. This has been a long process and the Michigan Municipal League would like to thank all of those have helped with the passage of this bill. They include Senator Casperson and his staff, Representative Schmidt, Representative Kosowski, policy staff, MDOT, Munetrix, and most importantly our members for all of the outreach they did on this issue.

The final version of this bill eliminates the requirement for cities and villages to post their current fiscal budget, list the number of transportation employees, and create an additional dashboard. It pushes the implementation date back to September 30, 2015 and maintains the requirement to certify with the department that you are in compliance with PA 152. It also requires that communities inform MDOT if they have opted out of PA 152. If you fail to send in your certification form to the department they may withhold your Act 51 funding.

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

Changes to MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Sent to the Governor

Senate Bill 882 was sent to the Governor for signature after the Senate unanimously concurred in the House changes. The Michigan Municipal League supported these changes and is very thankful for the work put into this legislation by Senator Casperson and his staff.

The final version of this bill eliminates the requirement for cities and villages to post their current fiscal budget, list the number of transportation employees, and create an additional dashboard. It pushes the implementation date back to September 30, 2015 and maintains the requirement to certify with the department that you are in compliance with PA 152. It also requires that communities inform MDOT if they have opted out of PA 152. If you fail to send in your certification form to the department they may withhold your Act 51 funding.

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 Passes Changes to MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions

The House passed SB 882 yesterday by a vote of 107-2. A floor amendment was adopted creating an additional change to the bill. The amendment states that when cities and villages certify to MDOT their compliance with PA 152 they will also have to inform MDOT if they opted out. Concurrence in the House changes should happen in the Senate this morning, followed by the Governor’s signature before the end of the day.

The final version of this bill eliminates the requirement for cities and villages to post their current fiscal budget, list the number of transportation employees, and create an additional dashboard. It pushes the implementation date back to September 30, 2015 and maintains the requirement to certify with the department that you are in compliance with PA 152 along with the additional information of whether or not you opted out. If you fail to send in your certification form to the department by September 30, 2015 they may withhold your Act 51 funding.

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

Update: MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions

The Michigan Municipal League would like to offer a quick update on SB 882. Last week a blog was posted that explained the compromised the League had reached with the House and the anticipated vote today on the bill. As a result of a few key House Republicans being unable to attend session today, the House has decided not to take up any bills for a vote. This move was completely unexpected and out of our control. After following up with staff, they have indicated that a vote will take place on the bill tomorrow. As a result of this delay it appears that the Governor will not be presented with the opportunity to sign this legislation before Thursday.

The more difficult issue with this is that there will be a two day period where if you have not certified to the department that you are in compliance with current statute you may be at risk of losing Act 51 funding. In my discussions with the department I don’t believe that they will begin immediately enforcing this statute with a heavy hammer and are willing to work with us to bring all of our members into compliance. That being said the current statute does require that you comply no later than today, September 30.

Although today’s delay was not anticipated we remain confident this issue will be resolved before the end of the week.

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

Repeal of MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Awaits Final Passage in the House

Senate Bill 882 that repeals the MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions under Act 51 Section 18j is currently awaiting final passage in the House. This bill was voted out of the Senate just before the Legislature left for their summer break by a vote of 35-1. Upon their return in September we knew we would be working on a short timeline to get this bill out of the House. The first committee hearing on the bill was last week and our testimony was well received by the committee. Following committee there were a few questions that were brought up by policy staff in the House that we addressed and after some debate the bill was brought up for a vote in committee. It passed by a margin of 13-2.

There continued to be some questions raised by a few legislators about the need to repeal requirements placed on local government. As a result further movement on the bill was suspended and discussions and negotiations resumed. Yesterday the League supported compromise with the House that would remove the requirements for additional dashboards and financial reporting but would still require us to certify to MDOT on an annual basis that we are in compliance with PA 152. The legislation would also push the implementation date back a year to September 30, 2015. Please click on the following link for the most recent version of the bill. 2014-SCVBH-0882-14645

After reaching the compromise, the House moved the bill from 2nd reading to 3rd reading but did not vote on it. They will not return to session again until next Tuesday September 30th, the current implementation date in statute. In our discussions with the House they have indicated that when they return next Tuesday they will vote on the bill with the changes mention above and send it back to the Senate for concurrence. The plan is for the Senate to concur in the changes to the bill later that day, send it to the governor for signature, and just narrowly beat the deadline.

The bill does not represent the full repeal that we pushed for but we believe it is a very good compromise at the end of the day.

As you know nothing is guaranteed until the Governor’s signature is dry, but at this point, based on the conversations we have had with legislators and staff, we are confident that SB 882 will be passed on Tuesday.

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

Repeal of MDOTs Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Receives Committee Hearing

Today House Transportation Committee took testimony on SB 882 that would repeal the annual certification of employee related conditions requirement for cities and villages under Act 51. The League expressed its strong support for the legislation and addressed the need to act on this quickly. The Chairman acknowledge the importance of moving quickly on this legislation and plans to have another committee meeting on this bill next week and vote it out. We will continue to work with the Chairman and members of the committee on this issue in an effort to secure its passage before the end of the month.

The League continues to deliver the message that certifying to MDOT that we are in compliance with PA 152, which by law we are required to be in compliance with, is redundant, unnecessary, and an inefficient use of time. We have also advocated that the creation of another dashboard is unnecessary because of the public access to our current dashboards, F65 Forms, audits, and our comprehensive annual financial reports. With the commitment from the Chairman to move this bill out of committee next week we remain hopeful that this legislation will pass before September 30th but there is no guarantee. We encourage you to prepare as if this requirements will be due on September 30, 2014 and we will continue to update you on the progress of this legislation.

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

MDOT Makes Significant Upgrades to Act 51 Reporting Portal and the Investment Reporting Tool

The Michigan Municipal League would like to inform you that the Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) has made some significant updates to Michigan’s Act 51 Reporting Portal (MITRP) specific to completed project reporting requirements within both the Investment Reporting Tool (IRT) and Act 51 Distribution andReporting System (ADARS). Both systems can be accessed via this link: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/MITRP/.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and each local road agency has a responsibility to annually submit a report to the TAMC that includes, road and bridge projects anticipated to be contracted within the next three years and completed projects (open to traffic) for the fiscal year being reported. In 2006, the TAMC developed the Web-based IRT to facilitate the collection of project location information related to planned and completed projects for local agencies. In 2011, in an effort to gather meaningful cost information from local agencies, the TAMC partnered with MDOT to add an asset management page to the Web-based ADARS system. Unfortunately, this had an unintended consequence that caused many local agencies to have to manually re-enter duplicate project information into both systems.

This situation has been corrected and as of September 3, 2014, both the IRT and ADARS Asset Management page will be fully integrated to allow for the completed project information reported within the IRT to be automatically “synced” to the reporting categories within the ADARS page.

Initially, there will be a “soft” roll-out of this update for agencies with fiscal years ending on/after October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015. During the roll-out MDOT will focus on training and educating local agencies on the project reporting process and you will still be able to submit Act 51 reports by clicking the “No Treatments to Report” button. However, on/after October 1, 2015, the TAMC will expect the project information requested in both the IRT and ADARS to be complete. Failure to report this information could result in non-compliance with Act 51 reporting requirements and funds withheld until such a time that compliance can be determined.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Sanada, TAMC Coordinator, at 517-373-2220 or sanadab@michigan.gov.

The following is a link to the letter that was sent out by the Transportation Asset Management Council regarding these changes. TAMC Letter to IRT-ADARS Users 9 3 14

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.