The Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features conversations with transportation experts inside and outside MDOT and will touch on anything and everything related to mobility, including rail, transit and the development of connected and automated vehicles.
Gov. Whitmer’s proposed budget includes more to enhance opportunity for all
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget include additional funds for MI Contracting Opportunity, a program that supports contractors and suppliers who are socially or economically disadvantaged. The $5 million recommendation represents a renewal of the item in the previous budget, with a $2 million increase.
On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Lisa Thompson, who directs the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Office of Business Development, which includes the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, explains how the funding will help build on the success of assisting these businesses.
Thompson says the goal is to assist small businesses with tools to actively participate in the various phases of road and bridge design and construction.
Other objectives include:
The continuation and growth of MDOT's highly successful consultant, small business mentor-protégé program. Expanding a small business trucking program that covers the cost of commercial driver's license (CDL) training for small, disadvantaged trucking companies to help with truck driver shortages.A key focus to connect firms with access to capital and the skills to manage it successfully throughout the project life cycle; build and maintain meaningful relationships with industry professionals to provide opportunities to utilize and/or expand their work types; and provide training regarding the intricacies of government contracting and ways to strengthen their business functions and efficiencies. Upcoming initiatives include creating two small business revolving loan programs to help support small, disadvantaged businesses grow and contract more MDOT work. There will be a small business lending program and a mega projects small business lending program. Any funds received by the state as repayment of past loans are appropriated and shall be available for future loans.Create a small business incubator program that serves MDOT's existing small and disadvantaged business development program to grow the capacity of Michigan-based small, disadvantaged businesses through training and construction mentor-protégé opportunities.
Gordie Howe International Bridge team continues to invest in communities
This week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features conversations with two people who participated in a Feb. 6 announcement by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) of an additional $2.6 million being invested in 13 community projects as part of construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB).
First, Heather Grondin, vice president of corporate affairs and external relations for WDBA, talks about the community benefits program and why it’s so important.
The projects include cycling infrastructure added to Jefferson Avenue and Clark Street, making for a connection between the GHIB multiuse path and the City of Detroit’s Joe Louis Greenway.
Later, Mohammed Alghurabi, a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) senior project manager on the bridge project, talks about what it means to him to be able to demonstrate to residents that Canada and Michigan are delivering on promises to the community.
Projects announced for funding:
$250,000 toward local history and culture, $1.3 million toward community safety,$540,000 toward green initiatives, $250,000 toward food security, $250,000 toward wellness, and$100,000 toward community partnerships.
Why the state is asking citizens how to fund transportation
On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation about the road usage charge (RUC) survey conducted to gauge citizen’s thoughts on funding transportation infrastructure.
Jean Ruestman, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Passenger Transportation, explains how the department sought and won a federal grant to fund the survey and why the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is incentivizing states to gather the information.
Some key takeaways:
The survey is a research project and not about setting policy regarding the implementation of an RUC.This statewide survey is the first step in exploring how RUC, if implemented, might affect people’s modal choices (taking transit, selecting alternative less congested routes, traveling at different times of the day) and in exploring new ways to sustainably and fairly fund and maintain public transit systems, roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure in Michigan. One possible funding tool is RUC, or paying based on vehicle miles traveled, which means drivers would pay a few cents for each mile driven versus paying based on how much gas they buy.The Legislature adopted legislation in 2022 requiring MDOT to study tolling as an additional or alternative funding method. The Legislature later requested that the department examine RUC.Gov. Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council recommended lawmakers examine alternative funding sources for Michigan’s transportation infrastructure. No policy changes like this are being debated by the Legislature at this time.Many other states are exploring RUC, with some already having implemented similar systems (Utah, Oregon, Virginia, and Hawaii).
Meet Garrett Dawe, MDOT’s new engineer of traffic and safety
On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Garrett Dawe, who was recently named engineer of traffic and safety at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Dawe succeeds Mark Bott, who is retiring.
Dawe talks about what he’s learned in a variety of positions at MDOT, including as a Transportation Service Center manager and North Region operations engineer, and his keen interest in traffic safety.
He also discusses the perils of drivers becoming too complacent behind the wheel, prompting them to indulge in distractions.
Gearing up for a bomb cyclone on the Lake Michigan shore
On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, MDOT’s coordinator for snow plowing and other maintenance on state routes in four west Michigan counties talks about preparations for heavy snow in the forecast for this weekend.
Kurt Fritz, who coordinates maintenance on state trunkline (I, M and US routes) in Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties, talks about his work with the local road agencies that maintain those routes under contract with MDOT.
Nationally, forecasters are using the term “bomb cyclone” blizzard for what’s headed for the Midwest. Reports this week said an earlier storm hit more than 30 states with snow, ice, rain, or thunderstorms and encompassed more than 2 million square miles.
Meet Mike Hayes, chair of the STC
On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Mike Hayes, who was recently named chair of the Michigan State Transportation Commission (STC).
Hayes, who has been active in community affairs in Midland for many years and served in the Michigan House of Representatives, has been a member of the STC since 2011. He talks about how his background as a community leader and lawmaker informed his thinking about transportation infrastructure and how his views have evolved.
The commission’s role and what he considers their most significant action in recent years, approving the bonds for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan initiative; How commissions can stay abreast of rapidly developing technologies and innovations in transportation; His service representing Michigan on the International Authority, the body overseeing construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The International Authority consists of six members with equal representation from Canada and Michigan. Two members are appointed by Canada, one appointed by Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and three appointed by Michigan.
These people running our state and federal government, as well as governments in other countries are trying to get you used to their Great Reset Agenda, ESG scores, not owning a car and being dependent on public transportation and the government. Look up ‘15 Minute Cities’ . And now the WEF has two locations in Michigan (Detroit and Troy). This is not good! Whitmer is selling our land to Chinese.