Tag: Michigan

Michigan, Iowa and Ohio Receive accolades from ATRI for their High-Ranking Freight Plans

Three MAFC member states’ freight plans scored among the best in a recently release report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), “Identifying State Freight Plan Best Practices.” Freight plans from Iowa, Michigan and Ohio were among a dozen freight plans selected by ATRI as exemplary in terms of planning, assessment, and implementation practices.

The goal of this report was to provide a baseline for freight plans as well as future guidance on best practices since these freight plans will need to be updated every five years in accordance with the FAST Act.

According to the report’s authors, “A well-designed freight plan allows a state or region to accurately understand the movement of goods within the larger geographic and economic framework, and speculate on future trends…Freight plans also provide an understanding of how safe, efficient, and productive freight systems benefit local and state economies and help meet local, regional, and national goals for safety and productivity.”

ATRI received nominations for 26 states. Freight plans were evaluated on 10 criteria coming out of both the FAST Act and MAP-21 freight plan requirements.

Each of the high-scoring freight plans provide good examples of specific best practices. Iowa’s plan has an excellent multi-modal network analysis. Michigan’s plan was commended for providing a step-by-step protocol for replicating its project list development data analysis, allowing others interested in replicating the quantitative analysis to move from the initial data extraction all the way to exporting tier-sorted projects. And, Ohio’s freight plan includes a narrative discussion of how freight impacts the quality of life for its citizens, framing freight investment as an investment in prosperity and quality of life for Ohio residents.

For access to the full report, please visit TruckingResearch.org.

The development of Freight planning has been reliant on the sharing of knowledge and practices across the states.  Our region is fortunate to have such expertise to develop these freight planning approaches, and then share them across the region. For an earlier assessment of state freight planning across the MAASTO states, see the MAFC report: From the Ground Up – Aligning state freight plans.

Mid-America Transportation Awards

The Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri DOTs have received top honors in this year’s Mid-America regional American Transportation Awards competition, sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The competition honors transportation projects in three categories: Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget, and Best Use of Innovation.
Of the twelve transportation projects from seven Mid-American states, five projects received awards.

Two states took home awards in the Ahead of Schedule category. Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) won in the small category (projects that cost under $25 million) for its I-465/Allisonville Road Interchange Reconstruction Project. Missouri Department of Transportation was awarded the win in the large category (costing more than $200 million) for its Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program.
In the Under Budget category, Minnesota Department of Transportation was named winner in the medium category (projects costing between $25-$200 million) for the Highway 169/I-494 Interchange Reconstruction Project. Indiana DOT took home a second award, this time for its I-69 Evansville to Indianapolis Corridor (Sections 1-3) Project (large category).
Two projects received an award in the Best Use of Innovation category: Michigan Department of Transportation for its Main Street Makeover (M-150) Project (small category) and Missouri DOT won again for its Shared Four-Lane Highway Project (medium category).

For more information about these projects and the competition, visit americastransportationawards.org and the AASHTO press release.

Draft Michigan Freight Plan Available for Review

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to release for public review and comment the draft Michigan Freight Plan, a new supplement to the 2035 MI Transportation Plan that includes a list of projects designed to address freight mobility in Michigan.
MDOT is seeking comments on the plan through Aug. 7 and has scheduled a July 24 Webinar to discuss it in detail. The plan is available for viewing on-line at www.michigan.gov/slrp or at MDOT’s region offices and Transportation Service Centers.

Freight is defined as any good, product or raw material carried by commercial transportation, including air, highway, rail, water and pipeline. MDOT recognizes the importance of freight mobility.  A safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation network supports cost-effective freight movement, economic development and improved quality of life.

The Michigan Freight Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and the investments required to ensure long-term success. A multi-modal and intermodal resource, the plan provides an overall framework for freight system improvements and priorities. It is an element of the 2035 MI Transportation Plan and integrates its overall vision, goals, objectives, strategies and decision-making principles.
The public Webinar is scheduled for 10  to 11 a.m., July 24.  Register at the State Long-Range Plan website at www.michigan.gov/slrp or send name, organization (if applicable), phone number and address to youngk10@michigan.gov. Details, including Web address and audio connection information will be sent with E-mail confirmation.
Registration and copies of the plan also may be obtained by calling 517-241-4819 or by writing Bob Parsons, Public Involvement and Hearings Officer, Bureau of Highway Development, Michigan Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909.

President's awards to go several MAFC states

Four MAFC states have been selected for national awards from AASHTO. Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan each garnered a President’s Transportation Award.

The annual President’s Transportation Awards recognize individuals, programs, or teams for improving environmental conditions, utilizing technology, implementing excellent executive management skills, increasing efficiencies, and making effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Kansas (Aviation) – Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation: The Division of Aviation utilized 21st century technology to develop the Kansas Airspace Awareness Tool which utilized Google Earth to display a 3D map of Kansas airspace. The team also worked with law enforcement through the Law Enforcement Operations on Airports Program to teach non-airport police how to respond to airport situations.
Illinois (Intermodal Transportation) – High-Speed Rail Bureau Chief Mike Garcia (Retired): The Illinois High-Speed Rail project is expected to launch 110 mph service this fall. Garcia is credited with building strong relationships between state agencies, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Union Pacific Railroad for this project, which will deliver an important high-speed rail network to the region.
Indiana (Performance Excellence) – Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) DamageWise Program: INDOT developed the DamageWise program to be an effective and innovative solution to financial burdens associated with replacing damaged right-of-way. The program increased the amount of money INDOT recoups for crash-related infrastructure repairs.
Michigan (Rail Transportation) – Office of Rail Director Timothy H. Hoeffner: Hoeffner’s commitment to improving rail service in Michigan is evident through his accomplishments. His vision for Michigan’s rail system enhances mobility for travelers and goods which support economic development and environmental sustainability.

This year’s awards will be presented on November 18 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
For more information about all of this year’s awards, consult the AASHTO press release.

Detroit International River Crossing to Proceed

On June 15, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that that the United States and Canada have reached an agreement that will allow the Detroit International River Crossing project to proceed.

Prime Minister Harper described the Agreement as follows: “Our Government is taking the measures necessary to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and the United States in order to generate jobs, economic growth and long term prosperity.”
He added: “The new Detroit River International Crossing will facilitate the movement of people and goods between Canada and the U.S. by ensuring that there is sufficient border crossing capacity to handle projected growth in cross border trade and traffic in the Windsor-Detroit trade corridor.  It will also provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest Canada-U.S. commercial border crossing and create thousands of jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.”  In response to a media question, he described this as the “most important infrastructure project in North America.”
With the signing of the agreement, Canada and Michigan can now proceed with the next steps of the project, which include further design work and property acquisition on the U.S. side before construction can begin. Under the agreement, Canada will be responsible for constructing, financing and operating the new crossing with likely private sector involvement.
Inevitably, there will be more obstacles along the way.  The owners of the Ambassador Bridge spent millions last year in their effort to ensure that their 83-year-old bridge faces no competition.  This year, they are trying to amend the Michigan Constitution, effectively to prohibit any new crossings from being built.
Friday’s announcement, however, was a big step forward.  The Prime Minister and the Governor are mindful of how importany this project is to trade and jobs across the industrial heartland of the USA and Canada.  I know they have been very appreciative of the unanimous resolutions supporting the bridge passed in each of the Indiana House and Senate and the Ohio House and Senate, as well as indications of support from Chambers of Commerce, labor unions, and others in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and other states in the region.  With everyone’s continued support, we’re going to get this done!

For more information, consult the press release issued by the Government of Canada: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=4865.

MDOT Publishes Rail Plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has published a state rail plan designed to guide freight and passenger rail development for the next 20 years.
This plan aims support a rail system that provides “enhanced mobility for travelers and the efficient movement of goods, while supporting economic development and environmental sustainability.”

    For more information, visit the MDOT Rail Plan page, consult the executive summary, or read the entire plan.

    Ten Best Transportation Projects

    AASHTO, AAA, and the US Chamber of Commerce recently released the list of the finalists for the ten best American transportation projects. Among the MAFC states, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan made it into the final round.

    1. Kansas — K-23 Practical Improvement project: Time and taxpayer money were saved when the Kansas Department of Transportation used practical design strategies to rebuild 17 miles of a two-lane road in western Kansas. The project removed deteriorated asphalt and widened the road as well.
    2. Kentucky — Newtown Pike Extension: In order to accommodate the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had to extend the Newtown Pike in a very short period of time. The project, designed to improve traffic flow into downtown Lexington, finished on schedule, two full weeks before the Games, even with unanticipated work added to the project.
    3. Michigan — The Fix on I-196 project: This $40 million project by the Michigan Department of Transportation used more than 100 community meetings and significant public partnership efforts that enabled the completion of the two-mile segment of I-196 near Grand Rapids during a single construction season.


    For information about all ten projects and to vote for your favorites, visit the America’s Transportation Awards website.

      Michigan State Rail Plan

      This article was contributed by Larry Karnes, Michigan DOT
      With hundreds of public comments and notes from dozens of stakeholder outreach meetings in hand, the Michigan Rail Plan team is rounding the bend toward completing MDOT’s first major rail plan in decades. The lead consultant, HNTB Michigan, Inc. is on-track to deliver the draft document by the end of March, after which a second round of public meetings is being planned.
      One of the team’s first deliverables was the Technical Memorandum #1 concerning the plan’s vision, goals and objectives. As noted, Michigan’s future is envisioned to include “A rail a system that provides enhanced mobility for travelers and the efficient movement of goods while supporting economic development and environmental sustainability.”
      The goals are to:

      • Promote the Efficient Movement of Passengers
      • Promote the Efficient Movement of Freight
      • Encourage Intermodal Connectivity
      • Enhance State and local Economic Development
      • Promote Environmental Sustainability
      • Promote Safe and Secure Railroad Operations

      More than 200 people attended the initial set of four public meetings in September held in Negaunee, Traverse City, Detroit and Grand Rapids. As expected there was strong interest in expanding passenger service in Michigan, with more than three-quarters of the comments addressing it. Common themes included the need for greater transportation choices, more energy efficient travel, improved quality life, economic development, and concern over divesture, loss of right-of-way and funding. Of the comments dealing with passenger service locations, Traverse City, Detroit and Grand Rapids were mentioned most frequently.
      In addition to 350 comments received at the MDOT meetings and through an on-line comment form at www.michigan.gov/mirailplan, the Michigan By Rail initiative has offered to share input from its 15 public forums held throughout the state last fall. Michigan By Rail is a coalition of passenger rail advocates led by the Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.
      A second Technical Memorandum also is available for download that describes the existing conditions of Michigan’s rail system. The report presents the freight rail system profile, freight rail traffic, passenger rail service profile, federal and state funding programs, and a review of existing studies. Canadian National operates the most miles of rail in the state, 1,017, while Norfolk Southern and CSX each operate 642 and 569 miles respectively. Nearly 119 million tons of freight rolled on Michigan tracks in 2009. Amtrak ridership has been on the rise in recent years, reaching 500,000 riders in 2010 alone.
      The MI Rail Plan will address the serious problems facing Michigan’s rail system, including the need to identify funding sources to fill any current and future funding gaps. It will address the key concepts defining Michigan’s rail priorities and “business as usual” investment pattern, plus explore strategic concepts/opportunities to improve upon “business as usual” through strategic investment.
      The plan will satisfy a federal requirement in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. The law established new federal funding programs for passenger rail services, including high speed rail. MDOT anticipates applying for additional federal funds in mid-year, if available, that would further improve services on the federally-designated high speed rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac. Applying for those funds will require completion of the State Rail Plan.
      For more information about the Michigan state rail plan, visit www.michigan.gov/mirailplan.

      Making a Difference in the MAFC

      The National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ) recently announced a series of Making a Difference awards. These awards honor projects that exemplify highway quality, safety, and service. Once again, projects in MAFC states figure heavily in the list of award winners.
      The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) took home three awards:

      The Michigan Department of Transportation received the Gold Award for “Making a Difference – Workforce Training” for its Michigan Construction Quality Partnership (MCQP). That partnership emphasizes a unique approach to expanding training beyond just the mandatory technical certifications for materials testing and acceptance. The program’s curriculum of more than 120 courses focuses on joint-training efforts and encompasses discipline areas such as design basics, quality control, and safety. Those participating in MCQP include MDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, Michigan Concrete Association, Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan, Michigan Recreational and Parks Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, and County Road Commission of Maryland.
      MDOT was also given the Gold Award for “Making a Difference – Partnering” for its partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), project consultant Bergmann Associates, Inc., and prime contractor Posen Construction, Inc., on behalf of the Farm Lane Underpass project on the MSU campus. This railroad grade separation project involved major roadway widening and reconstruction, two new railroad bridges, drainage and pump station, and extensive utility infrastructure work.
      MDOT also won the Gold Award for “Making a Difference – Breaking the Mold” for its collaboration with the City of Houghton, the Houghton Downtown Merchants’ Association, design consultant U.P. Engineers & Architects and prime contractor Bacco Construction to rebuild a segment of U.S. 41.
      For information about these projects, visit the Michigan DOT.

      The Minnesota, Kansas, and Missouri DOTs were each honored with a single award:

      The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) received the Silver Award for “Making a Difference – Workforce Training” for its Snow Plow Operator Training (SPOT) program. SPOT provides up-to-date training for all new Mn/DOT commercial motor vehicle drivers. The SPOT curriculum teaches trainees how to inspect, safely operate, and maintain Mn/DOT’s plow trucks. While designed specifically for Mn/DOT personnel, SPOT is also offered to municipal, county, tribal government, and other snow plow operator trainees throughout the state. Individuals from Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Illinois have also participated in the program. To learn more about SPOT, please visit Mn/DOT.
      The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) won the Silver Award for “Making a Difference – Partnering” for its K-18 expansion project. The project, which was funded by $8.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will accommodate the rapid growth of the army base at Fort Riley and the development of the nearby National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan. The project, which involves converting about two miles of K-18 between Fort Riley and Manhattan into a four-lane highway, has relied heavily and meaningfully on a partnership with the state, local communities, the U.S. Army, Union Pacific Railroad, consultant HNTB, and others. To learn more about this project, please visit the KDOT projects page.
      The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) was the winner of the Bronze Award for “Making a Difference – Workforce Training” for its job-training partnership with Paseo Corridor Constructors (PCC). Their program, the kciCON Project, offers minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged individuals a chance to learn a trade and launch a successful career in heavy construction. Individuals with skills to start work immediately can apply for on-the-job training through PCC. They are brought on as apprentices, learning the craft and accumulating hours toward journeyman status. There is also a pre-apprenticeship program available to help others obtain the skills and knowledge needed for construction work. To learn more, visit the  kciCON Project.

      We extend our congratulations to all of the award winners–especially those for projects in MAFC states.
      For a complete list of award winners, consult the AASHTO press release or visit NPHQ.