MITA is extremely encouraged by the Governor signing into law a package of bills that will result in more sewer work throughout the state and thus help to improve the condition of Michigan's aging sewer infrastructure systems. The package of bills will expand the allowable uses of the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund to include grants for the design and engineering of sewer projects. Local units of government are now eligible for grants of up to $1 million from the grand total of $40 million. MITA supported this legislation because it helps to put cash-strapped municipalities into a better financial position in order to take advantage of the $1 billion that is available from the Great Lakes Water Quality Bonds (Proposal 2 of 2002).
State Transportation Funding Initiative
MITA will continue to keep you informed through our bulletins and our new legislative action alerts on the latest information pertaining to our efforts to increase state transportation funding. We will regularly use this section of each legislative bulletin to keep you informed on this important initiative.
Read a recent Detroit Free Press article that supports the need for our Governor and legislature to consider a state gas-tax increase now.
Inter-departmental Grants White Paper Available on the MITA Web Site
Recently the MITA staff worked with representatives from the County Road Association of Michigan to develop a white paper on Inter-Departmental Grants (IDG) from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). As mentioned in previous MITA bulletins, IDG’s are transfers of MTF dollars to other state agencies including the Secretary of State and the Department of Treasury.
This white paper will be shared with various legislators and media around the state in order to promote the reduction and/or elimination of the use of inter-departmental grants that are used to balance the overall state budget. This effort could create an additional $44 million (2005-06 Transportation Budget) in funding for Mi chigan’s roads and bridges.
MITA Protects Construction Interests on Water Bills
Senate Bills 850-852 were recently introduced. These bills deal with water withdrawal issues throughout the state. They were brought about due to a variety of issues that include the Ice Mountain (Nestle) lawsuit as well as the ongoing debate over the protection of the Great Lakes and the annexation agreement that will help to keep the Great Lakes basin water in this area.
MITA, along with the Michigan Concrete Paving Association, were able to protect the construction industry by pushing for a two million gallons per day average over 90 days withdrawal allowance before any new permit was required. This language helps to protect a majority of construction sites with regard to the dewatering operations that may be needed. MITA, along with the Michigan Aggregate Association, were also involved in the negotiations that ultimately helped aggregate pits to avoid numerous layers of NPDES permits being added onto what is already required. At this time it seems as though this legislation is moving forward in a positive manner, however MITA will keep you updated as to any changes in the direction of this important legislation.
MITA Continues to Promote Prompt Payment Legislation
MITA continues to work with a variety of interested groups in a package of legislation that would require prompt payment language on all public contracts. This effort also includes language that is being promoted by MITA that would require construction managers to follow current public law, such as the Retainage Act and the Differing Site Conditions legislation, just like a public owner.
Once this initiative is put into a legislative form and receives a bill number, MITA will inform you as to our progress.
Please contact Michael Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations, with any questions or comments regarding these issues.