Road Commission unveils townships' local road matching program allotments
The Washtenaw County Road Commission will continue its local road matching in 2012 and has earmarked $500,000 of the anticipated $16.25 million it will receive from Michigan Transportation Funds for this program, which is a 50-50 partnership for road projects between the Road Commission and the 20 townships.
There are 1,064 centerline miles of local roads in Washtenaw County and the Road Commission matches each township’s contribution for road work, dollar-for-dollar.
How the individual projects are chosen are up to each township. The elected officials of the townships meet with Road Commission officials at an open public meeting to discuss each year’s road projects.
So, if residents would like a specific road project in their township to be considered, they should contact their township supervisor in early January. In a discussion of a draft proposal for the county-wide monetary allocation, Jim Harmon, director of operations, said the individual township allotments are based on a formula that uses “center-line miles” and population, and any changes in the amounts from last year are based on either or both of those factors.
Townships with urban local miles - Ann Arbor, Dexter, Lima, Lodi, Northfield, Pittsfield, Salem, Saline, Scio, Superior, Webster, York and Ypsilanti - are eligible for additional funds.
Plus, the Road Commission has allocated $200,000 in a drainage matching program for local uncurbed, non-subdivision roads, and this money is used for improving drainage for projects, such as roadside berm removal, ditch establishment and restoration, large culvert or bridge replacement.
“Funding distribution is based on the total uncurbed, non-subdivision local road centerline mileage for each township,” Harmon said.
When asked by Road Commissioner Ken Schwartz why, for example, Ann Arbor Township’s conventional local road matching program allocation dropped by $1,422 for 2012 from this year’s amount, Harmon said that there are portions of the township that are being annexed into the City of Ann Arbor and thus there are less centerline miles, which reduces the allocation amount.
On the flip side, gaining the most in Road Commission local road allocations was Augusta Township, which will receive $1,346 more in 2012 than it did this year. Superior Township also saw an increase of $1,251. Here’s a breakdown of how much the Road Commission will match for each of the local road projects in the townships.
*Ann Arbor Township: $11,008, a reduction of $1,422 from 2011.
*Augusta Township: $20,164, an increase of $1,346 from 2011.
*Bridgewater Township: $11,724, a decrease of $173 from 2011.
*Dexter Township: $16,546, a decrease of $30 from 2011.
*Freedom Township: $13,525, a decrease of $299 from 2011.
*Lima Township: $14,687, an increase of $339 from 2011.
*Lodi Township: $22,723, a decrease of $361 from 2011.
*Lyndon Township: $11,955, a reduction of $310 from 2011.
*Manchester Township: $14,267, an increase of $193 from 2011.
*Northfield Township: $23,873, an decrease of $661 from 2011.
*Pittsfield Township: $69,125, an increase of $230 from 2011.
*Salem Township: $15,935, a decrease of $561 from 2011.
*Saline Township: $9,745, an increase of $313 from 2011.
*Scio Township: $38,188, an increase of $958 from 2011.
*Sharon Township: $10,406, a decrease of $$148 from 2011.
*Superior Township: $32,061, an increase of $1,251 from 2011.
*Sylvan Township: $13,363, a reduction of $233 from 2011.
*Webster Township: $17,986, an increase of $327 from 2011.
*York Township: $27,144, an increase of $221 from 2011.
*Ypsilanti Township: $105,574, a decrease of $982 from 2011.
Other proposed changes in this year’s contract include a firm deadline of May 25 for townships to notify the Road Commission “of their intent to utilize the matching funds,” according to the draft.
Harmon said, “It’s not uncommon for $80,000 to be left on the table (by the townships.)”
Unused matching funds will be reallocated for primary road maintenance, according to the contract, and is expected to be used for sealcoating operations that were not funded in the 2012 budget.
If a township has identified specific projects for 2013 and elected officials want to rollover some of the allotment, it’s expected that they will be able to do that as has been past practice - provided there’s enough money for a matching program two years out.
As for bridges across the county, the draft contract states, “The Road Commission recognizes that local road bridges are vital assets that require significant resources to maintain and replace. This program fosters a cooperative approach with the townships, as we partner to renovate or replace deficient bridges.”
The Road Commission will continue to seek federal grant funding for bridge repairs, but expenses for these projects will be shared equally with the townships, the contract states. The draft is expected to be brought before the Road Commission next month for final approval.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.