SEMCOG works with local governments and other infrastructure service providers to facilitate project coordination and increase overall system efficiency.

Collaboration

Improving the degree of collaboration between various service providers presents opportunities for project cost savings and efficiencies – an important first step in improving the sustainability of the region’s infrastructure system. To succeed, we must have a shared understanding of the process by which individual service providers (both public and private) make infrastructure decisions and develop the means for sharing information on upcoming projects.

Collaboration Summits

In 2011, SEMCOG hosted a series of infrastructure collaboration summits, bringing together utility companies, state and county transportation agencies, and local communities to explore opportunities for improving project coordination. Key needs and challenges were identified, along with a strategy for moving forward. A subsequent series of summits was held in 2012. This series focused on the importance of asset management and the role it can and should play in project coordination.

Key Findings, Challenges, and Needs (pdf, 21 KB)
Infrastructure Collaboration Strategy (pdf, 124 KB)

Coordinating Infrastructure Projects in the Region

The Infrastructure Collaboration Strategy that emerged from SEMCOG’s 2011 and 2012 Collaboration Summits identified the need for a combined infrastructure project list that could be shared among all service providers in Southeast Michigan.

As part of the region’s Transportation Improvement Program, SEMCOG already compiles information on federally-funded transportation projects planned through 2018. Taking this a step further, SEMCOG now also compiles a combined infrastructure project list that adds information on water, sewer, electric, and natural gas projects that are planned for the next three years. This information is solicited annually from all local governments, road agencies, and major utility companies in the region. The projects are compiled into a single, sortable list and distributed back to service providers, making them aware of other projects that are being planned within their service area.

The purpose of the combined list is two-fold: (1) to help avoid project conflicts, and (2) to identify opportunities for collaboration among service providers that could result in reduced costs.

The first combined list was distributed in early 2014. An updated list was distributed in January of 2015.

For more information on SEMOG’s Infrastructure Collaboration activities, contact Joan Weidner.

Coordination

The unprecedented demographic and economic changes that have taken place in Southeast Michigan over the last decade, combined with the aging of the infrastructure system and the decline in available revenue to maintain it, have led to an infrastructure crisis in our region. Roads are deteriorating at an alarming pace and the vast majority of our water and sewer infrastructure is over 50 years old — well past its useful life.

SEMCOG's report, Creating a Sustainable Infrastructure System in Southeast Michigan, identifies a number of needed actions:

  • Reducing costs;
  • Redesigning revenue collection systems;
  • Instituting collaboration among service providers;
  • Strategically investing and disinvesting to make efficient use of infrastructure;
  • Managing infrastructure based on a holistic view of needs and outcomes;
  • Developing an agenda for specific legislative/regulatory reforms; and
  • Promoting education and disclosure.

 

Sustainable Infrastructure Discussion Papers

SEMCOG has prepared a series of papers to stimulate discussion among local elected officials, infrastructure service providers, and the general public on a number of sustainable infrastructure issues.

 

SEMCOG Infrastructure Public Opinion Survey

Understanding how the public perceives the current infrastructure system, and what they believe should be done to improve it, is key to developing effective policy actions and gaining the necessary support to implement those actions. SEMCOG recently conducted a regionwide survey of over 1,500 residents. The results have been shared with various stakeholder groups, including local elected officials, state government agencies, and infrastructure service providers.

Read the “What the Public Thinks” discussion paper (pdf, 570KB) summarizing key findings and implications of the survey 
Full report on Survey (pdf, 3.0MB)
Presentation on key survey findings (pdf, 3.8MB)

Actions to Address Legislative and Regulatory Barriers

Recommended changes to the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund.
Summary of resulting legislation that provides $450 million statewide for sewer and stormwater asset management (pdf, 30KB)

Contact Joan Weidner for additional information on SEMCOG Sustainable Infrastructure activities.

Developing Regional Solutions
SEMCOG is a regional planning partnership of governmental units serving 4.7 million people in the seven-county region of Southeast Michigan striving to enhance the region's quality of life.