March 10, 2014 – “Greater funding for transportation should wait.”
“MDOT should use more salt in winter.”
The new “Reality Check” series of videos and information sheets from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will examine these and other common transportation misconceptions, and offer explanations for why the reality is very different.
“There are many myths and rumors about transportation in Michigan, often repeated, that either aren’t quite true or are flat-out wrong,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Getting these cleared up is an important step to having a logical and open discussion about the real problems facing Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.”
The first two videos and fact sheets cover two common claims, and offer data and information on why they aren’t correct:
Myth: Michigan’s roads and bridges aren’t that bad, and there are plenty of other priorities.
Reality: Michigan’s transportation system is hurting, and waiting just makes things worse.
Myth: MDOT has gotten dangerously stingy with salt, and they need to use more! Reality: MDOT has made changes to be more efficient with salt, but not at the expense of safety for motorists.
Throughout the year, MDOT will take on more transportation myths. Future topics will include issues like: why signs are replaced when they are, the safety of roundabouts, truck weights, road-building standards, and gas prices’ effect on fuel tax revenues. The first two myths, and the facts that deflate them, are available at www.michigan.gov/realitycheck. Media outlets are welcome to link to the fact sheets, or broadcast the videos.
MDOT says: Drive like you want to make it home tonight.
Governor appoints Receivership Transition Advisory Board
LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that the financial emergency in the city of Benton Harbor has been resolved and appointed a Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) to help ensure a smooth transition and guide the city to continued financial stability.
“This is an important day for the residents of the city of Benton Harbor. I’m pleased to be able to accept Tony Saunders’ recommendation that the financial emergency has been sufficiently addressed,” Snyder said. “With authority being returned to local control, this Transition Advisory Board will work cooperatively with local leaders to ensure continued financial stability and growth in the city and ensure the essential services that citizens need and rely on.”
Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Tony Saunders notified the governor late Thursday, March 6, of his determination. Saunders and the governor cited several factors and accomplishments, including:
General fund expenditures being reduced by 30 percent, allowing the city to turn previous annual deficits into an annual fiscal year operating surplus of more than $1 million.
Two operating millage renewals previously rejected by the electorate, passing by more than 80 percent.
Two collective bargaining agreements being executed following negotiations and which provided cost savings.
Annual pension contributions increased 380 percent after the pension system was transferred to the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan. This resulted in the City meeting its recommended pension contribution during FY 13-14 for the first time in 10 years.
Thanks to data driven policing, crime decreased considerably while arrests and closure rates increased.
Saunders enacted a two-year budget on Thursday, March 6, following a public hearing Wednesday evening, and on Friday, March 7, issued his final order as Emergency Manager.
“It has been a privilege to serve on behalf of the city of Benton Harbor and its residents,” Saunders said. “We have worked together and taken some critical steps in righting the city’s finances. Going forward, city officials and residents will benefit from the appointment of the transition advisory board. These very knowledgeable individuals will work collaboratively with the mayor and commission to facilitate the transition back to full local control.”
RTAB members include:
Cary Vaughn, audit manager at the Michigan Department of Treasury (state treasurer designee)
Bret Witkowski, Berrien County Treasurer (Department of Technology, Management and Budget director designee)
Sharon Hunt, former human resources/trade customer support manager at Whirlpool Corporation, representing a member with relevant professional experience.
Marvin Raglon, retired manager for Whirlpool Corporation, representing a member with relevant professional experience.
For more information about Public Act 436 of 2012, the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act, visit the Local Government Fiscal Health page on the Department of Treasury’s web site at www.michigan.gov/treasury.
Tuesday, March 11 at 7:15 a.m.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will offer remarks at the West Coast Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Breakfast.
Haworth Inn and Conference Center
225 College Ave.
Tuesday, March 11 at 10 a.m.
Gov. Rick Snyder will offer remarks in honor of Michigan’s Olympians. He will be joined by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Special Olympics gold medalist Teadoro Spremo.
Michigan State Capitol – House Appropriations Committee Room – 3rd Floor
101 N. Capitol Ave.
Tuesday, March 11 at 10:45 a.m.
Calley will offer testimony on personal property tax legislation to the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee.
Anderson House Office Building – Room 521
124 N. Capitol Ave.
Tuesday, March 11 at noon
Snyder will offer remarks through a Google Hangout at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
*Governor participates via Google Hangout.
Grand Traverse Resort
100 Grand Traverse Resort Village Blvd.
NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.
U.S. Army World Class Athlete Paralympic Program goalie Sgt. Jen Lee was selected for the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that will compete in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Read more here: Resilient Soldier in goal for Paralympic Team USA
The Pentagon Channel’s pilot episode of Armed with Science is airing at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. (ET), March 10, 2014, and will delve into Army Research Laboratory and Naval Research Laboratory science that shapes the future of defense.
DETROIT – The President’s Budget for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) includes more than $4.561 billion in discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USACE, (see release at: Corps of Engineers, HQ Website – www.usace.army.mil) with more than $71 million for Detroit District projects around the Great Lakes.
The Civil Works budget funds the operation and maintenance program, which includes the maintenance of federal shipping channels on the Great Lakes, maintenance of federal structures, and the operation and maintenance of the Soo locks. Incorporated in the budget is funding that will be used across the district’s jurisdiction in Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
“The Detroit District budget of $71 million reflects the Administration’s fiscal year 2015 annual Civil Works program and we are looking forward to working hard and fully executing this strategic investment in the development, management, restoration, and protection of the Nation’s water, wetlands, and related resources,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, district engineer, Detroit District. “Deliberate attention to the allocation of funds delivers the maximum benefits to commercial navigation, flood risk management, and aquatic ecosystem restoration.”
The FY15 funding will be distributed among the Detroit District major projects as follows:
- St Marys River/Soo Locks, Mich. Navigation/Hydropower /Recreation $39.8 million
- Detroit River, Mich. Navigation $5.9 million
- Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis. Navigation/Recreation $5.6 million
- Saginaw River, Mich. Navigation $3.0 million
- Fox River, Wis. Flood Risk Management $2.9 million
- Green Bay Harbor, Wis. Navigation $2.8 million
- Milwaukee, Wis. Navigation $2.1 million
- Monroe Harbor, Mich. Navigation $1.0 million
A total of $16.7 million will be used for dredging projects including the following locations: Detroit River, Mich., Duluth-Superior Harbor, Minn. and Wis., Green Bay Harbor, Wis., Grand Haven Harbor, Mich., Milwaukee, Wis., Monroe Harbor, Mich., Saginaw River, Mich., St. Clair River, Mich. and St. Marys River, Mich.
Also, $3.7 million will be used to continue monitoring lake levels and water flow throughout the Great Lakes.
- more -
The FY15 Civil Works budget press book is available on the Corps headquarters Website at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.
For more information go to the 2015 budget related link:
- Detroit District Website – www.lre.usace.army.mil
- Corps of Engineers, HQ Website – www.usace.army.mil
- White House Website – http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget