In the Governor’s veto letter of SB 557, which would have eliminated the cost sharing for road projects that 45 cities pay to MDOT, he stated that we should not take a piecemeal approach to revising ACT 51 but instead we should consider wholesale revisions. We agree with the Governor that this is an archaic and complicated formula and that we must tackle the complexities and nuances it contains. A formula that better recognizes our costs, drives resources to already existing infrastructure, and meets the demands of a 21st century workforce is imperative to creating the types of communities we advocate for every day.
A preliminary step was taken at the end of September when Senate Republicans granted a request by MDOT to present to their caucus a very basic framework of what they thought a new formula could look like. While a few specifics were included in the framework, there are no numbers available on how their proposal would affect individual communities. We recently met with Director Steudle and he stated that they still need to gathered a tremendous amount of input from both legislators and local road agencies before any legislative action would take place. We have also confirmed that this is only a preliminary step and that a complete overhaul of Act 51 will not happen during lame duck.
The Detroit Free Press recently ran an article explaining some of the changes that MDOT has proposed in their draft plan. In our discussions with the Director, he reinforced that this is only a starting point and that they are flexible and open to negotiating the specifics on many of the items they have proposed. You can read the article by clicking here.
The League is committed to protecting a community’s ability to maintain their infrastructure and will oppose any plan that would put any further stress on their budgets, which are already stretched thin. We will be prepared to have a robust conversation on how we think that formula should look, and have information to support those arguments. We look forward to continuing this conversation and will continue to advocate for a formula that supports a transportation network for 21st century communities.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-908-0303.