Temporary Fix for Federal Transportation Crisis Passes House

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill that would fund the Highway Trust Fund and extend MAP-21 until May 2015. The bill, HR 5021, would inject $10.9 Billion into the fund, which was projected to run out of money within weeks. The House’s proposal gets the funding from “pension smoothing,” customs user fees, and an account which was set to be used for leaking underground storage tanks.The bill now heads to the Senate for passage. There are positive indications that the Senate will support the measure, as there are only two weeks left until Congress leaves for their August recess.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Federal Transportation Department Tells State Transportation Departments Money is Running Out

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has sent a letter to all State Department of Transportation Directors letting them know that because of the funding shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, reduced payments to states will begin starting August 1st absent Congressional action in order to manage cash flow. The letter is attached below.

There is still no solution agreed upon by Congress. However, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees leadership are meeting to focus on a short term fix that will fund transportation through the end of the fiscal year. The Congressional Budget Office has been warning officials that the Trust Fund would be insolvent in August for the past year. We will continue to keep you posted as this issue progresses and as further impacts are known.

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Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Award for Enterprising City/State for Sustainable Transportation Available through MobiPrize Until July 7th!

MobiPrize, an award program through SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research and Transformation) at the University of Michigan, has added a City/State category to their sustainable transportation awards this year. The deadline for the applications is July 7th. The award is for cities that have demonstrated active efforts to build a culture of innovation and encourage entrepreneurship in sustainable transportation through enabling policy changes, capacity building, data sharing, funding (ppp) and other resource allocation efforts, etc.

To access the flyer with additional details, click here. And, to visit the website, click here.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Federal Transportation Funding Remains in Danger of Becoming Insolvent

Congress is unfortunately not any closer to solving the federal transportation crisis. The Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of funding within weeks, yet Congress can’t agree on either a long term solution or short term fix. Recently, Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn) and Patrick Murphy (D-Conn) proposed legislation to boost the federal gas and diesel taxes by 12 cents per gallon over two years, but there is not much optimism that this solution would be considered in time to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent or before MAP-21 expired at the end of September.

There will be growing pressure on Congress to act soon and most expect a very temporary solution to get Congress through until after the November election, which is not great news for local communities, looking at long term planning for transportation projects.

The League will keep you posted on any updates regarding this issue in the coming weeks.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Transportation Budget Includes Additional One-Time Funding for Local Roads

Although the legislature was unable to come up with a comprehensive solution to fix Michigan’s transportation system, next years transportation budget includes an additional $144.5 million in one-time funding for roads. As a result cities and villages across this state will receive $31.5 million. Based on the boilerplate language in the bill, the money will be spread out over equal payments throughout the year and not come as a lump sum payment at the beginning of the fiscal year. An estimated breakdown of what each community will receive can be found below.

Estimated Calculation of $144.5 million FY15

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

2016 Local Safety Program

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of new applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Local Safety Program. Federal funds for the 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 2016 federal budget for this program is estimated at $15,000,000. This amount may be subject to revisions based on approval of the future federal highway bill. 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 2016 projects are to be developed and obligated between October 1, 2015, and August 26, 2016. For more detail please click here. 2016 Federal Local Safety Program

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 Fails to Pass Road Funding

The Senate adjourned until July 16 after several failed attempts to provide additional road funding to fix Michigan’s infrastructure. Failing to act means our roads and bridges will continue to fall into greater disrepair. We will not only fail to maintain existing infrastructure but won’t be able to invest in additional infrastructure to attract and retain talented employees and job providers.

The League will be relentless in the pursuit of additional funding and we want to thank all of our members who have reached out and asked your legislators to support long-term sustainable solution. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed by those in Lansing.

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

Transportation Funding Hitting Road Blocks in the Senate

The package of bills sent over by the House has hit a road block in the Senate. Democrats are arguing for protection of prevailing wage, the current electoral college system, and the need to provide tax relief for the working poor by reinstating the cuts made in 2011 to the Earned Income Tax Credit. Republican are not united in their approach as some members of their caucus want to raise the gas tax, other want to raise the sales tax, and still other want no new taxes. As this debate plays out some progress was made this week but much more needs to be done if comprehensive solution is going to be realized.

Talks are ongoing among legislative leaders. The League remains hopeful that the legislature will respond to the public outcry to fix Michigan transportation networks and act on the bills before them. We encourage you to reach out to the Senator and Representative from your area and encourage them to vote for a sustainable solution that will return Michigan to a state with strong infrastructure, reliable transit options, and thriving communities.

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

Transportation Budget Passes Conference Committee

The transportation budget passed out of conference committee this week and did not include new revenue for transportation funding that reflects a comprehensive solution. SB 777 did include $144.5 million in one-time general fund money that would be distributed to MDOT, Counties, and cities and villages. Of the $144.5 million cities and villages will receive $31.5 million in additional funding for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014. SB 777 also included $1.1 million for the Regional Transit Authority.

A significant amount of work continues to take place around finding a larger solution and the League remains hopeful the legislature will act before they leave for summer break.

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 Local Government Committee Votes Out Legislation Allowing Golf Carts on Local Roads

This week House Local Government Committee voted out HB 5045 that would allow a local unit of government to pass an ordinance that would allow golf carts on roads under their jurisdiction. The following requirements must be met.

  • Must have a population less that 30,000
  • The operator must be at least 16 years of age and have a valid drivers license
  • The golf cart must be operated on the far right side of the roadway
  • You can only operate the golf cart between a half hour after sunrise and a half hour before sunset
  • Drivers must use hand signals to indicate turning and stopping
  • The golf cart cannot exceed 15 mph and can not operate on a road with a speed limit of more than 30 mph

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