Transportation is vital to every aspect of our economy and our personal lives. Highways, transit systems, railroads, and other modes of transportation serve to knit our region together and connect it with the nation and the world. SEMCOG has a vital role in the transportation planning process as the region’s federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Operating and maintaining a first-class transportation system is very expensive, so funding is always a critical priority. SEMCOG is in the forefront of many aspects of transportation funding, including financial forecasting, researching innovative ways to pay for needed improvements, and ensuring that adequate funding is available for proposed projects.
- Fifty-one percent of people think that most funding for roads comes from property taxes. In reality, the vast majority comes from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees.
- Fuel tax revenue is generated on a per-gallon rate of 19 cents, the same since 1997, no matter how much fuel costs per gallon.
- Revenue can only increase if more gallons of fuel are purchased. In recent years, revenues have actually decreased due fewer miles traveled and greater fuel efficiency.
- If we keep doing the same thing – under-investing – we will get more of the same result: deteriorating roads and higher costs once we decide to fix.
- Michigan ranks 48th in the country in spending on roads (on a per capita basis).
- Our most recent estimate of needs through 2040 is approximately $70 billion compared to revenues available of approximately $52 billion.
- What SEMCOG does to address the funding challenge: prioritize the most cost effective roads and bridges; advocate for more local investment in the transportation system; advocate for more federal funding and flexibility in the use of that funding.
- What you can do to ease the wear and tear on our roads: telecommute; carpool; ride public transit; travel at non-peak times on less congested routes; encourage your legislators to address the shortfall in revenues.
- Citizens wanting to shape and influence regional transportation policy need to voice their opinions early and often where projects initiate – at the local level.
- Learn more by reading the Spring 2013 issue of Semscope: "Who Will Pay? Adding fuel to the transportation funding issue"
- U.S. Congress: Senate, House of Representatives
- Michigan Legislature: Senate, House of Representatives
- Road Agencies: City of Detroit, Livingston County, Macomb County, Monroe County, Oakland County, St. Clair County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County
- Transit Agencies: Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA), Blue Water Area Transit (BWAT) , Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), Detroit Transportation Corporation (PeopleMover), Lake Erie Transit (LET), Livingston Essential Transportation Services (LETS), Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART)
- Federal Agencies: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
The non-local road system and the transit system are mostly funded by a combination of federal and state funding, although special assessments, bonds, and other sources of funding are also used. A new federal transportation law, MAP-21, was passed in 2012.
- State Agency: Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
- Regional Agencies: St. Clair County Transportation Study (SCCOTS), Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS)
Funding Local Road Projects: A Guide for Local Elected Officials (PDF, 192 KB)