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Press Releases 2011

Sunday, January 1, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nancy Brown
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10/06/11

 

Danger on Our Roads” mobile App contest will award $500 toward car repairs


LANSING, Mich. – Michigan residents can be on the alert for dangerous roads and bridges – and immediately record them with a new mobile App unveiled by the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) today.

 

The largest transportation and infrastructure coalition in Michigan has launched a mobile application allowing citizens to upload a photo of dangerous potholes in their area or bridges or roads in disrepair. Submissions selected as finalists in the Danger on Our Roads contest will be uploaded to the “Fix Michigan Roads” Facebook page and citizens will vote for the worst pothole, road, or bridge in Michigan. The MTT will award the winner $500 to offset the cost of vehicle repairs incurred by motorists due to the poor condition of Michigan’s roads.

 

The App is designed to highlight the state’s need for increased investment in transportation and infrastructure -- keeping Michigan citizens safer, saving the state money long term, and creating jobs vital to Michigan’s economic health.

 

“This is not just an economic issue of jobs, but a safety issue for Michigan citizens and their families who drive in Michigan each day,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and co-chair of the MTT. “Our new App gets citizens involved, reminding us all that Michigan’s transportation network is no longer sustainable.”

 

The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council released a report earlier this year which found that 35 percent of Michigan roads qualifying for federal transportation dollars were in poor condition. Forty-six percent of non-federal aid roads, which are typically residential streets or lightly traveled county roads, were in poor condition.  Additionally, nearly one-third of Michigan’s bridges were deemed functionally obsolete or structurally deficient last year.

 

Citizens who would like to download the App on their iPhone should go to the Apple App store and search “Danger on Our Roads,” or visit www.dangeronourroads.com to learn more about the App, connect with their local legislator and view facts about the transportation funding crisis in Michigan. Contest rules include the following:

  • Photos of Potholes, Bridges, or Roads in Crisis should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on November 21
  • Five finalists will be chosen by Michigan Transportation Team officials and the voting period will take place from November 22 through November 29 on www.facebook.com/FixMichiganRoads
  • The winner will be awarded $500 for vehicle repairs or upgrades on November 30
  • Michigan residents who do not own an iPhone can send their pictures to: info@dangeronourroads.com

 

“It is a myth that there is no cost to doing nothing – it is pay me now or pay more later, and it’s a higher cost later that Michigan cannot afford,” added Nystrom. “We look forward to working with the legislature and the Snyder administration to come up with a long-awaited, long-term solution to the transportation funding crisis.”

 

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to deliver a special message on infrastructure and transportation at the end of October.

 

The Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) is a broad-based, bipartisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens with the common goal of improving Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.

 

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June 24, 2011

 

MDOT UNDERGOES MAJOR REORGANIZATION

Changes will save money and increase efficiency

 

LANSING – A Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reorganization plan, which cuts staff and offices, was heralded today by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA)

 

The “MDOT Reinvented” plan, announced at a state transportation commission meeting today in Benton Harbor, reorganizes the department to focus on providing transportation services that support business growth and an improved quality of life for Michigan residents. It reduces staff and consolidates or closes MDOT facilities around the state to improve efficiencies and ensure transportation services are provided “better, faster, cheaper, safer, smarter” than ever before.

 

“Legislators and citizens alike have been asking for more efficiency in government and the new ‘MDOT Reinvented’ plan delivers on that goal,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of MITA. “This plan sets the stage for a long-term transportation funding discussion by demonstrating that taxpayer dollars can be spent responsibly.”

 

A June 2 report from MDOT found that over one-quarter of Michigan bridges were “functionally obsolete” or “structurally deficient,” with bridges from all 83 counties making the list. An April report from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council also revealed that 35 percent of roads that qualify for federal transportation dollars and 46 percent of non-federal aid roads were in poor condition.

 

Despite such needs, Michigan lawmakers have failed to invest in infrastructure. The Transportation Funding Task Force, which was appointed by former Governor Granholm and the Legislature, reported that Michigan needs an additional $3 billion per year to maintain our existing road and bridge network.

 

Highlights of the “MDOT Reinvented” plan include:

 

·      Closing or consolidating seven facilities statewide, saving an estimated $300,000 per year in rent and utilities.

·      Consolidating MDOT divisions and offices to eliminate duplicated services and those unrelated to core agency goals.

·      Choosing not to fill 60 positions, which are part of 450 jobs that will be left unfilled.

·      Maintaining nearly 15 percent fewer staff since 2009, which saves an estimated $45 million. Since 1977, approximately 50 percent of MDOT's full-time staff have been eliminated.

 

"MDOT's cutbacks will allow for a leaner, more effective organization, and takes us one step closer to providing legislators with assurances that increased transportation funding will go where it is needed most – to rescue our crumbling transportation system," Nystrom said.

MITA represents a broad spectrum of highway construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up. It has been a leading voice in efforts to secure adequate transportation funding at the federal and state levels. 

 

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May 26, 2011

Thousands of Students Attend the 2011 Construction Science Expo

 

With the sounds of construction filling the air, over 1,100 Detroit Public School students filled the Detroit Science Center May 24 to take part in the first annual Construction Science Expo.

 

Leaders of the construction industry partnered with the Black Caucus Foundation of Detroit, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to provide students hands on experience with the construction industry. 

 

"Statistics shows that the number of students interested in pursuing careers in design and construction careers are waning," said Doug Needham, P.E., of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), which was among the event sponsors.   "The Michigan’s Design and Construction Coalition, which MITA was a part of, worked with the Black Caucus Foundation of Detroit and MDOT to excite the young students of Detroit about the opportunities that exist in design and construction industry.  The need for young people to understand the relationship between their course work and their ability to prosper in a life long career is vital."

 

Students who were selected to take part in this Expo had signed a pledge card at the beginning of the school year to remain drug free.  The event was part of the celebration for fulfilling their commitment.  With the understanding that the construction industry is a drug free industry, students were exposed to various skilled trade demonstrations.  The demonstrations were provided by the Operating Engineers Local 324, Michigan Labors’ Training and Apprenticeship Institute, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association Apprenticeship & Training Fund, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Sprinkler Fitters UA Local 704, Sheet Metal Local 80, Bricklayers Local 1, and Energy Group Inc.  Students also had the opportunity to explore the Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels exhibit as well as the many other exhibits provided by the Detroit Science Center and other industry groups. 

 

The groups included the Walbridge Joint Venture for Detroit Public Schools, and the MDOT TRAC Program.  In addition, the Black Caucus Foundation of Detroit showed videos of skits performed by students regarding remaining drug free.

 

"This event was a true testament to the great partnerships and relationships that exist between the construction industry, the Black Caucus Foundation of Detroit, MDOT and DPS," Needham added.  "The Michigan Design and Construction Coalition plans to make this an annual event for many years to come."

 

The Michigan’ Design and Construction Coalition is comprised of the following organizations:

 

American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan

American Society of Civil Engineers Michigan Chapter

Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan

Michigan CAT

Michigan Concrete Association

Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association

Michigan Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust Funds

Michigan Construction Career Council

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324

 

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May 11, 2011

 

15 Billion Gallons of Sewage Dumped Into Michigan Waters

‘Dirty Dozen’ Counties Exposed for Failing Infrastructure

   

LANSING – Almost 15 billion gallons of foul, raw or partially treated sewage, enough to fill nearly 25,000 Olympic size swimming pools – has been dumped into Michigan's rivers, lakes and streams since January 2011,

according to a statewide analysis by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA). Sewer discharges result when overloaded and aging sewer systems are routinely flooded by heavy rains.

 

According to the reports on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) website, some of the worst polluters had completed mandatory remediation projects – yet they continue to dump large amounts of partially or untreated sewage into the state’s waterways. MITA's analysis highlights the “Dirty Dozen” counties that dumped more than one million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage in the first four months of the year – they include:

 

Rank       County                                            Sewer Discharge

1.              Wayne                                            13.4 Billion gallons

2.              Macomb                                         1.04 Billion gallons

3.              Bay                                                 88.3 million gallons

4.              Ingham                                           75.4 million gallons

5.              Saginaw                                          63 million gallons            

6.              Kent                                                50 million gallons

7.              Genesee                                         32.2 million gallons

8.              Oakland                                         25.7 million gallons

9.              Monroe                                         14.6 million gallons

10.            St. Clair                                         7.7 million gallons

11.            Gogebic                                         5.3 million gallons

12.            Lapeer                                            4.9 million gallons

 

Wayne County has the worst record among the 83 counties – with more than 13.4 billion gallons of raw or partiallytreated sewage dumped.  While seven of Michigan’s 10 most populous counties appear on the list of biggest violators, the dumping of raw or partially treated sewage is not an exclusively urban problem, but rather a Michigan problem.

Gogebic County in the western tip of the Upper Peninsula has only 16,500 residents but ranks 11th in sewage overflow problems. 

 

“People can’t help but take notice when our roads and bridges are in bad shape, but when a sewer pipe is leaking underground, it’s out of sight, out of mind,” said Keith Ledbetter, director of legislative affairs at MITA. “This

head-in-the-sand mentality has led public officials to eliminate infrastructure funding and cast a blind eye at the ongoing pollution of our state’s trademark fresh waters.”

 

Communities are required by law to report discharges to the state DEQ within 24 hours, with a more detailed report to follow. These mandatory reports provided the foundation for the MITA analysis.

 

Historically, state and federal low-interest loans helped communities finance these expensive environmental projects over a 20-year period. But, elected officials at both the state and national level have been slashing dollars for

infrastructure funding, leaving local communities to fend for themselves.

 

From 1999-2004, the Michigan Legislature placed more than $17 million annually in general fund money into the State Revolving Fund program. However, since 2005 the state has eliminated all general fund support for underground infrastructure.

 

In Washington, the recently completed FY 2011 Clean Water Appropriations bill reduced Michigan’s sewer infrastructure investment by about 25 percent – or $20 million.

 

“With the summer tourist season rapidly approaching, people will once again wonder why so many of our beaches are closed,” said Ledbetter. “It’s critical that we take long-overdue steps to repair or replace our aging underground systems to protect Michigan’s most precious natural resource – its abundant and clean waters."

 

 

Click here for a copy of MITA's analysis.

 

The 2011 sewer data was collected from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality data which is available online at http://www.deq.state.mi.us/csosso/find_event.asp. The information represents a snapshot in time and could contain a lag time between the time of a sewer discharge and when the official discharge report was submitted for inclusion in the online data.

 

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March 1, 2011

 

Michigan drivers report 650+ potholes in just two weeks


LANSING – Frustrated drivers across the state have identified more than 650 potholes on the new online reporting system at www.drivemi.org since Feb. 14, and the state’s infamous “Pothole Season” has only just begun.

The five counties with the most pothole complaints are: Wayne (311), Oakland (90), Washtenaw (53), Kent (40), and Macomb (36), according to the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), the road industry group sponsoring the reporting system on its website.

"The sheer number of pothole reports says loud and clear that Michigan drivers are fed up with road conditions and the lack of state funding to fix them," said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of MITA. “State, county and local road agencies are doing the very best they can with the limited funding available – now it’s time for state legislators to step up and find a funding solution.”

User-submitted pothole locations are mapped on the website, which also features drivers’ comments and pothole photos. MITA is providing the information to Michigan Department of Transportation engineers, county road commissions and city road agencies. MITA will also be sharing the pothole information with legislators.

Drivers have had it with Michigan roads, comments indicate:

• In Wayne County: "Lived here for over 15 years and can't believe this state can't take care of its roads. Go Motor City! Other states have similar weather, not the same driving conditions."

• In Oakland County: "Downtown Walled Lake is the worst of the streets I have seen so far this year. It's not just one pothole; there are hundreds."

• In Washtenaw County: "Four people got flat tires and we had to replace the rim as well as the tire on I-94 westbound just before US-23."

MITA represents a broad spectrum of highway construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up. It has been a leading voice in efforts to secure adequate transportation funding at the federal and state levels.


 


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