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The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will present its proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget during a public hearing Thursday, Aug. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac.
The public is invited to attend the hearing and offer input on the proposed budget.
The proposed $162 million budget represents an increase of about $7 million compared to the $155 million 2019 budget adopted in September of last year. The 2020 proposed budget increased primarily due to an anticipated increase in state road funding.
RCOC anticipates receiving slightly more than $111 million in state road funding in fiscal year 2020, compared to just over $102 million received in the current year. State road funding is derived primarily from state-collected fuel taxes, vehicle-registration fees and state General Fund dollars.
The remaining revenue making up the budget comes from local community contributions ($16 million) federal funds ($13.8 million), the contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation to maintain state highways in the county ($10.2 million), state Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) grants ($5.2 million) and federal funds for traffic signals ($3 million).
The state dollars continue to represent RCOC’s largest source of funding and its main funding source for operations. The anticipated growth in state funding is the result of the road-funding package enacted by the state Legislature in late 2015 which took effect in January 2017 and is being phased in through 2021.
The TEDF and federal funds are awarded on a project-by-project basis, and the amount RCOC receives from each source fluctuates from year to year.
The proposed 2020 budget includes nearly $50 million for road-improvement projects (though the projects planned to be under construction in 2020 will cost a total of approximately $74 million to complete -- some of these costs were included in the current year’s budget or will be included in the 2021 budget where projects are carried over from last year or expected to be carried over into 2021); $41 million for road maintenance efforts such as pothole patching, gravel road grading and salting and plowing in the winter; and $15.4 million for maintaining traffic signs, signals, pavement markings and guardrails among other activities.
The remainder of the budget is dedicated to operating expenses including customer services, vehicle maintenance, staff wages, buildings and grounds and administration.
RCOC’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Adoption of the budget is expected to take place at the regular RCOC Board meeting on Sept. 20.
“The state of the Road Commission remains strong,” reports RCOC Board Chairman Greg Jamian. “With great management in place and the new road-funding dollars coming into this budget, we are finally making a real difference in our road surfaces after years of funding deficiencies. Our record investment in road and bridge improvement projects will surpass all previous years in our long history,” Jamian added. “In 2019, the new money went right into improved pavement, and that will be the case again in 2020.”
RCOC Vice Chairman Ron Fowkes concurred. “The state Legislature enacted a road-funding package that is bringing in additional revenue,” he explained. “Even though it is not enough to fully address decades of underfunding that led to the poor condition of roads,” he added, “we are finally moving in the right direction.”
Board Member Andrea LaLonde added the Board remains concerned about the second half of the funding package approved by the Legislature, which requires that the Legislature annually commit substantial state General Fund dollars to roads. “We continue to be cautiously optimistic that the Legislature will appropriate $600 million yearly in addition to the funds from the increased gas tax and vehicle-registration fees,” she noted.
During the public hearing, RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz will provide an overview of the proposed 2020 Road Improvement Program (RIP) which includes next year’s road-construction projects. Among the planned projects are:
Widening Dequindre Road from West Utica Road to north of Auburn Road on the Rochester Hills/Shelby Township border
Major resurfacing of 12 Mile Road from Greenfield to Coolidge in Berkley
Paving the gravel portion of Dixboro Road from 8 Mile to 9 Mile on the Lyon Township/South Lyon/Green Oak Township border
Conducting preventative maintenance on the Grand River Ave. bridge over the CSX railroad tracks in Novi
A complete list of projects expected to be constructed in 2020 is attached. Projects are typically selected based on a detailed, computerized road-assessment program combined with engineers’ analysis and a review of safety data. The decisions are often made years before construction begins because of funding requirements.
“RCOC continues to improve the safety and condition of our roads throughout Oakland County,” Managing Director Dennis Kolar said. “We know that many roads still need improvement and appreciate the patience of our citizens and businesses as we continue to work through a very long needs list.”
The proposed budget is posted on the RCOC Website, www.rcocweb.org (click on the “Financials” button on the home page, then select “Budget Summary” and click on “Proposed 2019-20 Budget”).
Editor’s Note: The list of anticipated projects to be constructed in 2020 and a summary of proposed revenues and expenses are attached.
PROPOSED 2020 BUDGET
October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020
Total Revenues $162,155,740
Total expenses $162,155,740
Link to 2020 Road Improvement Projects: CLICK HERE