Beverly Hills, Mich. — The Funding Committee of the Oakland County Federal Aid Task Force will meet Feb. 7, though this year, it will not award federal road funds to future projects.
The 14-member committee includes 10 representatives of Oakland’s cities, villages and townships, as well as two representatives of the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), one representative from SMART (the suburban bus system) and one from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). It typically meets every February to identify the road projects that will receive the available federal road funds four years in the future.
However, because Congress has not yet approved a federal highway bill, it is not yet known how much federal road funding will be available in 2016, so the committee will be unable to award 2016 project funding.
The committee would typically review projects submitted by RCOC and all the cities and villages in the county. Projects compete for the available funds. In order to receive federal road construction dollars, projects must be rated, ranked and approved by the committee.
“Until we get a highway bill from Washington DC, we simply don’t know how much money we’ll have available for future road projects,” observed RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “As a result, we cannot select projects to receive those funds.”
When the amount of available dollars is known, the committee will solicit projects from the Road Commission and communities in Oakland County to compete for those dollars.
The projects will then be ranked using an objective point system that gives the most points to those projects that will do the most to improve motorist safety and reduce traffic congestion. Then, only the projects that receive the most points receive funding. Every year, numerous worthy projects remain unfunded because the need far exceeds the available funding.
“This is a ‘worst-first’ funding formula,” Kolar said.
RCOC and the county’s cities and villages rely primarily on federal funds for most major road construction projects. Without these funds, there would be very few major road projects undertaken on city, village or county roads.
Other items on the meeting agenda include: Filling a vacant committee position, proposing that Martin Parkway in Commerce Township be added to the National Functional Classification system (ensuring this new road is eligible for federal funds in the future) and adjusting the lists of projects for which federal funds were previously designated for 2012 and 2013 to account for anticipated reductions in funding levels in each of those years.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m., Feb. 7, and will take place in the Shannon Hall room at the City of Farmington Hills’ Costick Center, 28600 Eleven Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48336.
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