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.

Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Proposal 1; HUGE Victory for Michigan Communities!

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Citizens for Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

A huge thank you goes out to all the Michigan Municipal League member communities and supporters backing Proposal 1 on Tuesday’s primary ballot. The measure, which completes the plan to phase out personal property taxes that businesses pay, passed with 69 percent of the voters in support, according to preliminary results reported by mlive.com and the Detroit News with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Proposal 1 represented a considerable amount of negotiations and work by League staff and our members. We thank our many members who have publicly supported this proposal by passing resolutions encouraging a YES vote, doing media interviews, participating in news events and writing letters to their local newspapers. Read this article by the League’s Samantha Harkins about this history of this issue and why the League supported this measure.

“What this really means for us is stability,” Harkins, the League’s director of state affairs, told reporter Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press for an article about Proposal 1’s passage.

Here’s an excerpt from a Michigan Public Radio piece by Jake Neher about voters approving Proposal 1. This report also includes comments by Harkins:

Communities depend on revenue from the tax to pay for things like police, fire, and roads. (Governor) Snyder says the proposal ensures they will be fully compensated for any lost revenue.

Local government groups say they agree. “I think, from the local government level, it really provides certainty for us in a way that the failure of Proposal 1 certainly would not have created that certainty,” said (Harkins). “And we’ve had a lot of uncertainty in the last decade.”

Also in the “good news for communities” category, MIRS News is reporting that 80 percent of the “new money asks” in local ballot proposals were approved by voters. That 80 percent passage rate is consistent with the results from the past several elections. Here’s a chart by MIRS that shows the local ballot proposal results by community.

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

Please VOTE YES on Proposal 1 in the August 5, 2014 Primary Election

Please vote in Tuesday’s Aug. 5, 2014, primary election. On your ballot you may have a lot of things or just a few things to consider, but one of the most important issues for Michigan’s communities is Proposal 1. The League is in support of Proposal 1 and encourages our members to vote YES on Proposal 1.

This proposal represents a considerable amount of negotiations and work by League staff and our members. We thank our many members who have publicly supported this proposal by passing resolutions encouraging a YES vote, doing media interviews, participating in news events and writing letters to their local newspapers. Read this article by the League’s Samantha Harkins about this history of this issue and why the League is in support of Proposal 1.

So what happens if Proposal 1 fails?

A new community impact calculator by the Strong and Safe Communities YESon1 shows the potential losses communities could sustain if Proposal 1 is defeated and the Legislature decides to eliminate the personal property tax without any funding replacement for local municipalities. All you need to do is go to the calculator and follow the step by step instructions to see the impact on your community. For example, in Flint, if Proposal 1 fails and the PPT is eliminated without replacement that is the equivalent funding of 54 police officers, or 71 firefighters, or 464,746 meals on wheels for seniors.

Here are some details from the Strong and Safe Communities coalition about this:

A “NO” Vote on Proposal 1 and failure to pass Proposal 1 would hurt Michigan communities and Michigan small businesses. It would mean:

  • Michigan communities lose by having to go back to depending on an unreliable revenue stream for essential services like fire, police, ambulances, jails, and schools – plus other valuable local community services, including senior centers, parks and libraries.
  • Michigan businesses lose by having to go back to paying the antiquated unfair double tax that keeps them from investing and creating jobs.
  • Many community leaders across the state fear that if Proposal 1 fails in August, the legislature could still eliminate the PPT, but not reimburse local communities for that lost revenue.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org.

 

Michigan Communities Urge Residents to Vote YES on Proposal 1; Pass Resolutions in Support

Proposal 1 Press Conference Oakland County June 2014 Brooks Patterson Barry Brickner (16)-edited-smallMore than a dozen Michigan cities and villages have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 Aug. 5. The Michigan Municipal League is part of the vote YES on Proposal 1 Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities coalition and is encouraging our member communities to adopt a resolution. The League is then sharing the resolutions with the local media and public and those press releases can be viewed here.

We want to thank these communities for passing resolutions in support of Proposal 1: Cedar Springs, Frankenmuth, Fremont, Grayling, Hartford, Madison Heights, Mattawan, Middleville, Mt. Pleasant, Northville, Norton Shores, Pleasant Ridge, Three Oaks, Walker and Yale. If your community is not on this list but passed a resolution please email me at mbach@mml.org. We also want to thank our many members who have participated in local press conferences and editorial board meetings in support of Proposal 1.

The passage of Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5 statewide primary ballot is the final step toward completing comprehensive reform to the state’s personal property tax (PPT) – an effort the Michigan Municipal League has been heavily involved in for the last few years.

Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner urges residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 during a recent Oakland County news conference.

Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner urges residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 during a recent Oakland County news conference.

The PPT is a tax on business equipment that communities have relied on for years to provide essential services, such as police and fire protection, schools, libraries, ambulances, jails and roads. The League has maintained that if this tax is eliminated there must be full replacement of the revenue for local governments. Proposal 1 provides the revenue replacement and it does so without raising taxes.

Additional information:

Go here for a sample resolution. It’s important to note that it is legal for local government bodies to approve resolutions in support of ballot issues as long as no public tax dollars are expended. So resolutions are OK.

Go here to sign up to support the coalition and receive regular campaign updates.

– Send a letter to your local newspaper in support of Proposal 1. View sample letters here.

Go here to view additional photos from the recent vote YES on Proposal 1 news conference in Oakland County.

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

A list of communities that have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1.

A list of communities that have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1.

MDOT Releases Presentation on ADA Ramp Guidelines

The Michigan Department of Transportation has provided the Michigan Municipal League with a PowerPoint presentation regarding the new ADA ramp guidelines. MDOT ADA Presentation

In addition MDOT has release a draft memo on Local Agency 3R guidelines to address changes in ADA requirements and how standards apply for a project with 3R and 4R work. LAP 3R Guidelines 2013 10-21 Draft

For the changes in ADA ramps, the following is a memo that FHWA and DOJ worked on jointly to address different interpretations of when ADA ramps are required for road projects that are considered alterations. The main change is Microsurfacing, Cape Seals and certain multiple CPM treatments will now be considered an alteration and will require ADA ramps to be upgraded.  For multiple CPM treatments, if more than one of those treatments contains aggregate and/or filler, the combination will be considered an alteration. 2013-07-30 – BRIEF – ADA Resurfacing Technical Assistance

For a project that includes 3R and 4R work, the applicable standards will correspond individually to each work type (3R or 4R) within the limits of that work.

FHWA has requested that MDOT implement the revised ADA requirements beginning with projects in the March 2014 bid letting. MDOT has requested that any comments or concerns be sent directly to Larry Doyle. He can be reached at DoyleL@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.

League’s Samantha Harkins on Crain’s List of People in Politics to Watch in 2014

The League's Samantha Harkins gets interviewed by a TV news reporter.

Congratulations are in order for Samantha Harkins, the Michigan Municipal League’s Director of State Affairs, for being included on Crain’s Detroit Business list of Top Ten People to Watch in State Politics in 2014.

As the league’s chief lobbyist, she is an important force representing Michigan’s communities in Lansing. She told Crain’s one of her goals this year is changing the law phasing out the state’s personal property tax for business to guarantee complete reimbursement to communities of lost revenue from the tax. As written, the law provides 80 percent.

Samantha is on the list with numerous other well-known Michigan politicians and key political figures, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, chair of the state House Transportation Committee; state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor; Cindy Estrada, United Auto Workers vice president; Emily Dievendorf, managing director at Equality Michigan; Barb Byrum, Ingham County Clerk; Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; Lon Johnson, of the Michigan Democratic Party; and Ann Flood, Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

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

TRU Survey: Metro Detroiters Want Better Transit and are Willing to Pay for It

The Michigan Municipal League is a strong advocate of improving and investing in our public transportation systems as a proven way to create vibrant livable communities. Transportation Riders United (TRU) has released a survey that continues to prove the demand for quality public transportation and the willingness of the public to pay for it.

In summary:TRU surveyed 2,500 southeast Michigan stakeholders during the summer of 2013. While some knew little about public transit, many others had great ideas and relevant, real-life experiences to share. TRU recommends that we listen to and learn from one another through public engagement and educational activities. Moreover, fully 71% of survey respondents are willing to pay more in taxes for more and better transit.

The following link will provide you with a copy of the report. TRU Survey Report to RTA Nov 2013

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.

6th Annual Michigan Utility Cordination Conference

Key elements in utility coordination are “communication, coordination, and cooperation.” The 6th Annual Michigan Utility Coordination Conference (MUCC) will have participants interactivity communicating with conference presenters. Please consider reserving your calendar for Wednesday, January 22, 2014 and plan on attending what is set up to be the best MUCC yet. The following is a link to the agenda and registration form. MUCC14form

The Michigan Municipal League will be moderating an interactive session that will focus on water and sanitary sewer systems. The session will include representatives from Midland, Novi, and Grand Rapids.

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.

Aviation Fuel Bills Pass the House, Local Revenue Protected

The Michigan House of Representative passed three pieces of legislation changing the way aviation fuel tax is collected. The Michigan Municipal League advocated that local communities revenue not be impacted by this change and that protection of their funding remain tied to the constitution and not an appropriation. Under the House passed version local revenue has been protected

HB4571, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), would change the current excise tax on aviation fuel from 3 cents per gallon to 2 percent of the average wholesale price on each gallon. The change would allow the tax to fluctuate with the price of fuel.

HB 4572, also sponsored by Schmidt, exempts aviation fuel from one-third of the sales tax. It will still be subject to 4% sales tax under the constitution protecting revenue that is shared with local communities

HB 4677, sponsored by Rep. Phil Potvin (R-Cadillac), would backfill money that the School Aid Fund would lose, by shifting some sales tax revenue from the General Fund to the School Aid Fund.

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.