Category Archives: General News

MDOT Seeks Public Comment on Draft 2020-2024 State Transportation Program

Fast facts:
– MDOT’s annual Five-Year Transportation Program document outlines mobility initiatives, revenues, and specific projects planned for the next five years.
– The public is invited to comment on the draft 2020-2024 Five-Year Transportation Program now through Aug. 30.
– The draft document is available on MDOT’s website at www.Michigan.gov/MDOT5YearProgram.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is seeking public comment on its draft 2020-2024 Five-Year Transportation Program. The draft document, which is updated annually, includes information about MDOT’s mobility initiatives, revenues and a list of specific transportation projects planned for the next five years in each of MDOT’s seven regions. You can view the program document on the MDOT website at www.Michigan.gov/MDOT5YearProgram, as well as an interactive map showing the location, description and proposed construction year for upcoming projects.

The Five-Year Transportation Program, a continuous, interactive dialogue with state transportation system users, emphasizes an integrated multi-modal program, system preservation and safety. The program also anchors MDOT’s project development efforts while carrying out the goals and policies outlined by the State Transportation Commission (STC). In addition to providing a list of MDOT-managed road and bridge projects, the document addresses investment strategies, funding assumptions, and economic benefits for all modes of transportation in Michigan, including highways, public transit, rail, air, marine, and nonmotorized transportation.

MDOT submitted the draft 2020-2024 Five-Year Transportation Program to the STC on July 18. It will remain a draft program until it receives final approval by the STC, which is expected to occur on Thursday, Oct. 17.

Alternative formats, such as print, large type and language translation, are available upon request. Comments will be accepted now until Friday, Aug. 30, and can be e-mailed to MDOT-Five-Year-Program@Michigan.gov or directed to:

Lina Chapman
Michigan Department of Transportation
Systems Evaluation and Program Development Unit
425 W. Ottawa St.
P.O. Box 30050
Lansing, MI 48909

FY 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Under Development

View the DRAFT 2020-2023 TIP under development here.

The 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a cooperative effort between federal, state, and local officials and serves as the final link in the planning process. Its primary purpose is to identify programs and projects to be funded with federal aid, in accordance with federal law and the regulations of the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration during the next four year period. Projects are selected based on several factors, including need, local initiative, and requirements of the federal government through federal transportation regulations. Other considerations for project selection include impact on air quality and availability of funds. A new TIP is produced every three years and amended frequently and includes a detailed list of projects which are funded and scheduled for the upcoming four year (fiscal years) period. The development of the TIP facilitates the required “3‑C” (Continuous, Comprehensive, and Cooperative) planning process. The TIP is a product of a continuous process on the part of local and state government to improve the regional transportation system. The TIP is comprehensive because it encompasses all modes of transportation. In addition, the TIP demonstrates a cooperative intergovernmental working relationship between local officials to mutually agree upon priorities and needs.

The 2020-2023 TIP was submitted to the Michigan Department of Transportation in June and will then be forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration for final federal approval.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
The West Michigan Metropolitan Planning Organization (WestPlan) is committed to ensuring that citizen input will figure prominently throughout the planning processes and contribute to transportation problem identification through public comment periods, public meetings, open houses, and review of the draft TIP document. WestPlan, as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), is also federally required to explicitly set forth public participation policies. The standards for this process are found in Title 23 CFR 450.316 which requires that the public have reasonable opportunity to comment on transportation plans and programs. These policies are laid out in the Public Participation Plan in Transportation Decision Making.

The Public Participation Plan for the Transportation Decision Making document describes the public participation goals and requirements for WestPlan, including specific details regarding the development of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). These guidelines were followed by WestPlan throughout the development of the 2020-2023 TIP. The update involved a variety of public outreach tools, including an update of the Public Participation Plan in Transportation Decision Making in August 2018, announcements on social media, direct emails, public meetings, and an open house.

Public Participation Mailing List
WestPlan maintains an extensive public participation emailing list that is used to provide information and notice to the public regarding transportation planning activities. The Interested Citizen/Agency list includes many representatives. The list of interested cities and agencies broken down by type
includes businesses, chambers of commerce, community organizations (including non-profits, faithbased organizations, etc.), concerned citizens, educational organizations, elected officials, environmental organizations, government entities and organizations, media, organizations serving
the disabled, organizations serving senior citizens, transportation related organizations, and tribal organizations. This list is continually maintained and updated regularly and can be found in the Consultation Chapter of this document.

Public Participation Outreach
This TIP included a re-evaluation and update of the Public Participation Plan with input sought from the Technical and Policy Committees. Staff worked closely with the MPO representative from the Federal Highways Administration to incorporate suggested updates to the plan, reviewed past public participation practices used by WestPlan and also reviewed plans written and followed by other Michigan MPOs to understand which worked well and discover new practices which could improve WestPlan’s efforts. The updated Public Participation Plan in Transportation Decision Making was approved by the WestPlan Policy Committee in August 2018 after a 45 day public comment period regarding the Public Participation Plan was conducted and concluded. All comments made during the public review period were incorporated into the plan prior to WestPlan Policy Committee approval.

To provide the public with fast, easy access to all things related to the TIP update, staff continued to maintain the wmsrdc.org website throughout the planning process. This included posting announcements for all public participation opportunities, the Public Participation Plan, air quality conformity analysis documents, other relevant background information, past planning documents, and MPO Technical and Policy Committee meeting materials. The WMSRDC website, which was totally updated in 2015, also hosts streamlined menus, simple navigation, interactive project related mapping, and other information 24 hours a day.

In early April 2019, the draft 2020-2023 TIP project list, developed by the Technical and Policy Committees, was posted on the WMSRDC website along with a two page description of the TIP process including contact information, etc. An email including the same information was distributed to the Interested Citizen/Agency list. Press releases were sent to local media and notices were posted on social media.

Once the draft TIP document, environmental justice, and project list was complete, a 14-day public comment period was held from April 30, 2019 through May 14, 2019. Notices of the public comment period were posted on the WMSRDC website on April 30, 2019 and sent to all on the Interested Citizen/Agency List. Announcements were also made on social media. Throughout the 14 day public comment period, the draft document was made available for the public to view upon request at every local unit of government, the Muskegon and Ottawa County Road Commissions, the Muskegon Area Transit System, Harbor Transit, MDOT offices, as well as on the WMSRDC website. In addition, a hard copy of the Draft 2020-2023 TIP was available at the WMSRDC office with staff available to respond directly to any public questions or concerns.

On May 7, 2019 an open house regarding the draft 2020-2023 TIP was held at the WMSRDC office. The draft 2020-2023 TIP Project List, Environmental Justice, Environmental Mitigation Analysis results, and the complete draft of the 2020-2023 TIP were available at this meeting, as well as a staff PowerPoint presentation.

The open house was held from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the WMSRDC office. The WMSRDC office is located in an ADA accessible building, which is located along fixed-route bus service lines to increase ease of access. An announcement of the open house was sent to the Interested Citizen/Agency List on April 30, 2019. The announcement included information on how to access the document and other related materials. Concurrent with the meeting announcement mailing, the
meeting information, methods for making public comment, and a draft plan were posted on the WMSRDC website. A copy of that announcement appears at the end of this chapter.  Topics discussed at the open house included questions about the continuation of M231 bypass, more funding needed for walking and bicycling facilities, transit routes, the meaning and purpose behind environmental justice, and shoreline access for the general public.

In addition to the public meetings, opportunities for public comment are available at monthly Technical Committee, Policy Committee, and WMSRDC board meetings. Agendas and minutes for these meetings are regularly posted on the wmsrdc.org website. No written public comments were received during the project list phase or during the official public comment period.

All documents, events, and public comment opportunities were published on the WMSRDC website throughout the TIP development process and were also made public through press releases to local media. Additionally, to provide ample time for staff to incorporate comments received, WestPlan Policy Committee approval took place on June 19, 2019 which was several weeks after the close of the public comment period.

Conclusion
Throughout the 2020-2023 TIP development, all pertinent public participation information was taken to the WestPlan Technical and Policy Committees for their review and consideration. This committee review aided staff during the process, helping to make decisions regarding the plan along the way.

All comments received were reviewed and incorporated into the TIP when and where appropriate.  An evaluation of the 2020-2023 TIP public participation efforts will be made through the Public Participation Plan process to identify areas of success and areas that can be improved upon for future plan development.

Written Public Comment
No written public comment was receive

The Michigan Association of Regions (MAR) is seeking proposals from qualified individuals or firms to facilitate a strategic planning process. The successful bidder will work closely with a Strategic Planning Committee consisting of the MAR Chair and several board members to develop the specific details and logistics of the planning process.

MAR RFP Strategic Plan

State of Michigan EGLE Pollution Emergency Alerting Systems (PEAS) Hotline: 800-292-4706

Who Ya Gonna Call?
If reporting an environmental emergency, spill or release involving water, groundwater, wetlands, oil, land or air, please contact the PEAS Hotline immediately (24/7): State of Michigan EGLE Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS) Hotline: 800-292-4706
Many incidents also warrant reporting to the federal National Response Center which serves the U.S. EPA and the U. S. Coast Guard: Federal NRC hotline: 800-424-8802

The 2018 WMSRDC Annual Report is Now Available

2018 Annual Report

Read the June/July 2019 WMSRDC Newsletter

June/July 2019 newsletter

MDOT Fast Facts 2019

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_fastfacts02-2011_345554_7.pdf

WMSRDC Receives Award for 21st Century Asset Management Pilot Project

Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council Honors the 21st Century Asset Management Pilot Project with 2018 TAMC Organization Award

Watch a video about regional development organizations like WMSRDC “Leading the Way on Resilience”

The NADO Research Foundation (NADO RF) has released a short, animated video that highlights the multiple roles that regional development organizations (RDOs), like WMSRDC, play in fostering and strengthening resilience in their regions. Because no part of the country is immune from shocks and disruptions, RDOs, like WMSRDC, everywhere have the responsibility to step up and be agents of resilience in their communities and regions. Often, this work is “behind the scenes,” such as collecting and analyzing regional data, bringing together key stakeholders to plan, and accessing funding to support projects and initiatives.

Watch video here.

WMSRDC is a partner in the new habitat restoration to be completed under the new NOAA/Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership

WMSRDC is a partner in the new habitat restoration to be completed under the new NOAA/Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership

WMSRDC is currently designing the restoration of 53 acres of wetland on the Lower Muskegon River, with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and a grant through the NOAA/Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership.  The new funding is for construction of the project in 2017.  WMSRDC and project partners will restore wetlands, remove unnatural fill material, perform monitoring and reconnect the river to its former, natural floodplain.  For many years, this site was a celery farm owned and operated by the Bosma family.  It was recently purchased by Muskegon County under a NOAA acquisition grant. 

 

Below is the press release regarding the grant issued by the Great Lakes Commission.

For immediate release: August 10, 2016
Contact: Beth Wanamaker, beth@glc.org
Office: 734-971-9135; Cell: 248-787-3920

Great Lakes Commission awarded $7.9 million to restore Muskegon Lake as part of $40 million regional partnership

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) announced today it has received $7.9 million to restore Michigan’s Muskegon Lake, as part of a new $40 million regional partnership the GLC is leading to clean up several Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The work funded will likely be the final habitat restoration project necessary for formal removal of Muskegon Lake from the list of Areas of Concern, the worst “toxic hotspots” in the region.
“We are proud to receive this recognition of our longstanding commitment to restoring toxic hotspots across the Great Lakes and excited to continue the work of restoring Muskegon Lake,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. “This is the third regional partnership the Great Lakes Commission has been awarded since 2008, with over $70 million being directed to key sites across the basin. We look forward to continuing this critical work in collaboration with our federal and local partners.”

Funding for the Lower Muskegon River Hydrological Reconnection and Wetland Restoration Project is being provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to the GLC, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The project will reconnect former wetlands with the Muskegon River and restore fish passage and habitat for a variety of native fish and wildlife. It is anticipated that restoration will involve the removal of three dikes (4,361 feet) composed of artificial fill, including broken concrete, soil and tree stumps. Local implementation will be led by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission. The project is expected to increase tourism and enhance the Muskegon Lake fishery, which is estimated to contribute $1.3 million annually to the local economy.
“From fishing and boating to tourism and shipping, Michigan’s Great Lakes and waterways drive our economy,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vital to protecting our precious water resources, and this funding will help restore critical habitat for fish and other wildlife and boost West Michigan’s economy with increased outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“Protecting our Great Lakes is so important to our way of life and our economy in Michigan,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “Today’s investment will help us continue the cleanup and restoration of Muskegon Lake while keeping our waterways and wildlife habitats safe.”

“Our way of life in West Michigan is forever linked to the careful preservation of the Great Lakes. Programs that invest in the economic and environmental health of these treasured resources, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, are showing real and measureable results and are something I am proud to continue to fight for,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02). “With White Lake officially delisted as an area of concern, I am encouraged and delighted to see the Great Lakes Commission collaborating with NOAA, as well as, state and local partners to address the remaining areas of concern across the Great Lakes region, beginning with Muskegon Lake. Restoring these sites will enhance recreational activities, expand economic opportunity, and build a stronger and more environmentally sound Muskegon County. In order to successfully preserve and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem for future generations, we must have continued engagement from stakeholders at every level. I look forward to being part of that discussion, and part of the solution.”
Muskegon Lake was designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern in 1985 due to ecological problems caused by industrial discharges, shoreline alterations and the filling of open water and coastal wetlands. Since 1992, community groups, governmental and nongovernmental organizations have worked collaboratively to remediate contaminated sediments and to restore and protect fish and wildlife species and their habitats.

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MDEQ Clean Water Infrastructure Funding

Funding Opportunities
MDEQ Clean Water Infrastructure Funding
State Revolving Fund (SRF) and Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF)

The SRF and DWRF provide communities with low-interest loans for planning, design and construction of wastewater, nonpoint source pollution control and drinking water system projects.
Interest rates range between 2 to 3 percent
Project plans are due by May 1st (drinking water) or July 1st (wastewater and nonpoint source)
Note – Projects can include green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.
www.michigan.gov/cleanwaterrevolvingfund
www.michigan.gov/drinkingwaterrevolvingfund

WMSRDC Title VI Non-Discrimination Plan

WMSRDC Title VI Non-Discrimination Plan

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
SNAP and FDPIR State or local agencies, and their subrecipients, must post the following
Nondiscrimination Statement:
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights
regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions
participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race,
color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation
for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information
(e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State
or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech
disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally,
program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination
Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:
http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter
addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request
a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA
by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.   

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.