A message from SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

For immediate release or post as appropriate: March 25, 2020
Contact: SEMCOG Information Center, 313-324-3330

SEMCOG invites public comment on an amendment to the
FY 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program and the
2045 Regional Transportation Plan

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, announces the public comment period for an amendment to the FY 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The RTP is a long-range vision and strategy that directs investment in the regional transportation system. The TIP is a list of specific projects which implement the policies of the RTP, and are recommended by cities, villages, county road agencies, transit providers, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) over a four-year period. SEMCOG’s Executive Committee makes the final approval of the TIP project list.

The 2020 Spring Amendment revises 40 projects in the TIP and RTP; this breaks down to 24 additions, six deletions, three cost modifications, two changes to the year in which the project will be implemented, two changes in project scope, and three projects that have some combination of changes to year, cost, and scope.

This amendment changes projects across a variety of project types – road and bridge preservation and reconstruction, traffic safety and operations, road capacity, and transit. This amendment will add nine of the projects from Governor Whitmer’s recently announced Rebuilding Michigan program. This amendment also includes the addition of two Wayne County projects to the RTP to better coordinate cross-county plans to reconstruct Beck Road with a center-turn lane.

Projects to be deleted are:

Deleted project chart

Amendment evaluations
The amendment requires all proposed projects undergo a series of evaluations, including identification of financial resources, an air quality conformity analysis, an environmental justice analysis, an environmental sensitivity analysis, an assessment for consistency with the regional Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) architecture, and a public comment process.

Project details and evaluation results are available online or by contacting SEMCOG’s Information Center at 313-324-3330.

Coverage of this notice
Public notice of public participation activities and time established for public review of, and comments on, the TIP will satisfy the Program of Projects (POP) requirements of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

How to comment
Please address written comments to SEMCOG Information Center, 1001 Woodward Avenue, Suite 1400, Detroit, MI 48226; send faxes to 313-961-4869; call 313-324-3330, or e-mail Comments can also be made during the following meeting where the amendment will be considered:

  • Executive Committee, Thursday, April 23, 2020, at 1 p.m.

*Note: Be sure to contact SEMCOG to confirm whether the meeting will be held in-person or via teleconference.

Legislative news

Governor’s State of the State address: $3.5 billion in new road projects

Governor Whitmer announced her plan to move ahead on fixing Michigan’s roads, which does not require legislative approval. The governor received approval from the State Transportation Commission to borrow $3.5 billion over the next five years. The plan will double the amount of road construction on Michigan’s freeways and highways over that period of time. The additional funds can only be used on state jurisdiction roads – Interstates, US Highways, and M roads. None of the revenue will go to the county, city, or village road agencies. The bulk of the work will be scheduled for the 2021 and 2022 construction seasons.

Some of the key projects impacted by the bonding in Southeast Michigan include:

  • Rebuild I-696 from Dequindre to I-275 ($456 million)
  • Rebuild I-275 from 1-96 to I-94 ($324 million)
  • Rehabilitate US-23 from I-96 to M-36 ($104 million)
  • Rebuild M-59 from Romeo Plank Rd to I-94 ($66 million)

Click here for a spreadsheet of all of the bonded projects under the governor’s plan.

Click here for an updated list of all state road projects for the next five years.

Senate passes road bills

The Senate passed a series of bills last week designed to improve roads in the state:

  • SB 515 would require the state to develop a Highway Construction Cost Index. This document would give everyone a better understanding of the costs associated with road construction. 
  • SB 516 would require the state to provide the legislature a list of all road construction projects occurring over the next five years – in other words, a compilation of all of the Transportation Improvement Plans across the state, along with an analysis on how they integrate with our long-range transportation plan.
  • SB 517 would require the state to conduct a feasibility study on implementing toll roads in Michigan.
  • SB 518 and SB 519 would require the state to offer to swap certain Federal Highway Funds that are made available to county, city, and village road agencies for an equal amount of PA 51 funds.
  • SB 520 would modify the terms of road warranties.
  • SB 522 would establish a road agency advocate within MDOT who would be an engineer that could work out issues of disagreement between MDOT and local road agencies.

The bills now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senate bill severely limits zoning controls over sand and gravel mining

The Senate Transportation Committee has held two hearings on SB 431, designed to remove local government barriers to establishing new sand and gravel mining operations. The legislation ensures that the state has an adequate and accessible supply of sand and gravel for road projects.

During the meetings, it was noted that Michigan has abundant and widespread deposits of sand and gravel thanks to the glaciers that covered our state thousands of years ago. In order to minimize costs associated with construction and especially road construction, builders look for a source of sand and gravel relatively close to the project. The cost of transporting the material can quickly exceed the extraction cost of the materials.

That said, integrating mining operations into any community has significant challenges, especially in the state’s more populated areas. Noise, dust, and vibration issues are often major concerns to both mining operations and transportation routes. Groundwater issues can also be a challenge.

SEMCOG has joined with other organizations to oppose this legislation. SEMCOG believes that these issues need to be resolved at the local level to deal with the unique issues related to each site.

Contact: Bill Anderson, SEMCOG Administration, and Government Affairs.

Guide to Transportation Planning coverSEMCOG releases Guide to Transportation Planning in Southeast Michigan

A new resource that explains the broad picture of regional transportation planning, describing the role of SEMCOG and its partners in the transportation planning process has been released by SEMCOG. The guide serves as a tool for local elected officials to better understand and educate their residents on the transportation planning process. It explains how decisions are made, the role SEMCOG plays, responsibilities of transportation partners, and ownership of transportation assets. Take a look at the guide here; let us know if you’d like some paper copies for display and distribution.

Contact: SEMCOG Information Center.

Upcoming SEMCOG meetings

Executive Committee on February 21; General Assembly on March 19

SEMCOG’s Executive Committee meets on Friday, February 21, 2020, beginning at 1 p.m. at SEMCOG (1001 Woodward Ave., Suite 1400, Detroit, MI 48226). Action items are approving the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan for Southeast Michigan for General Assembly adoption, approving the SEMCOG Annual Operating Budget and Work Program Summary for the Fiscal Year ending on June 30, 2021, for General Assembly adoption, and approving the 2020-2021 Work Program for Southeast Michigan. Register now. Executive Committee members will receive an agenda on February 14.

SEMCOG’s General Assembly meets on Thursday, March 19, 2020, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Schoolcraft College (18600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia, MI 48152). Action items are adopting the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan for Southeast Michigan and the SEMCOG Annual Operating Budget and Work Program Summary for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2021. Taubman Fellows will also be announced. Prior to the meeting, Executive Committee elections will be conducted. Information on those elections will be sent separately to General Assembly delegates and alternates. Register now. General Assembly members will receive an agenda on March 12.

Contact: Rachel Yamakura, SEMCOG Administration and Government Affairs.

Important reminders

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  • SEMCOG App: Quick information on SEMCOG events, meeting materials, parking, plus access to SEMCOG’s staff directory. Download from App Store or Google Play (search for SEMCOG).
  • View SEMCOG’s Southeast Michigan ParkFinder® video here (updated).
  • View Southeast Michigan Trail Explorer here.
  • Listen to SEMCOG’s podcast, Region Ahead, here.