Following are a number of other recommendations that require further research, but that should be considered for implementation:
Appoint a legislative transportation committee sub-committee, or expert panel, to re-evaluate the many recommendations of the Legislature’s 1998 Transportation Funding Study Committee, created under P.A. 308 of 1998. The committee made many excellent recommendations, some of which have been enacted, some of which are in the process of being implemented, and some of which should be considered again for enactment.
Create a study committee to consider long term financing of roads. This committee should review the concept of replacing all registration fees with fuel taxes – thereby avoiding the problem of fees being diverted from the MTF to the Secretary of State’s office. The committee should also study the need to eventually add to gasoline and diesel taxes, and/or replace them with other user fees and/or taxes. At some point we may need to begin taxing electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle road usage, rather than giving them preferential discounts as recent law does.
Consider enacting legislation to provide for and regulate developer impact fees, as discussed in the section on Incentive Funds – Private Match Sub-fund.
Consider whether county road commissions, or alternative county road organizations, should have authority to request a county millage vote for roads, or whether each commission should include a representative of county and township governments as a liaison – given that these organizations have the authority to ask voters for local taxes for local roads, but road commissions have no such authority. The 2000 Road Funding Committee made the latter recommendation.
Review, via an Auditor General performance audit, and a study committee, the extent to which private bidding is being required on state and local construction and maintenance projects, the effectiveness of the existing requirements in law, and the potential need for more guidance on bid requirements for work using any state funds.
Study the costs and results that have been achieved, or not achieved, from Michigan’s southeast Michigan expressway message board system. While millions of dollars have been spent, the signs often don’t work, and often provide meaningless information when they are working. A well designed system could help reduce congestion but the current system does not work very well.
Require additional electronic signage and/or local site FM radio stations that drivers can tune to during construction projects on state, county and city roads – with information advising the public of completion dates and estimated delay times. This will help make the public more tolerant of construction projects and improve quality of life for everybody.
Require signage on high VMT state, county and city roads that tells the public what road agency owns the road and provides a phone number for them to report potholes and other issues. This could be tested on a demo project basis.
Require local agencies to remove any remaining “paper” road mileage from their systems. These often are subdivision roads that were platted but never built.
Investigate further, and consider allowing recycled materials on Michigan roads. Recycled materials that are mandated in Ohio are banned here.
Consider requirements for planning coordination between local road agencies and local public works (sewer, water) agencies to avoid reworking the same road segments for multiple projects.
Consider the use of variable direction lanes on some congested roads as many other states do.
Reevaluate the need for a new Detroit-Windsor bridge in the near future given that auto traffic has fallen by more than 20 percent since Sept. 11, 2001, and truck traffic growth has been flat since then. This project could easily top $1 billion with land acquisition and may not be necessary for a number of years given the drop-off in traffic since initial planning began over five years ago. While a lot of the planning money is federal, millions could be saved and MDOT’s attention focused on other issues.
Implement truck and auto electronic tolling at the Blue Water Bridge, and urge the Ambassador Bridge owners to do so as well.
Pass legislation to provide for heavy truck “one stop shopping” for all truck licenses, registrations and fees. Currently truck owners must deal with five separate agencies. A number of other states have moved to one stop shopping.
Repeal the $100-per-truck registration fee for economic regulation provided for in P.A. 254 of 1933 since the Public Service Commission is federally preempted from regulating virtually all aspects of intrastate trucking that they previously regulated under state law.