Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Another Big Year

(Legislation, Public transportation, Transportation) Permanent link


January 20, 2015 - 2014 was a huge year for transportation. The start of the M-1 project and the start and completion of the massive I-96 project were two of the largest and most important projects of the almost $1 billion of projects constructed. Other highlights include:   

  • The people of the region voted to increase the SMART and AAATA millages to improve public transit in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. 
  • Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hired Dan Dirks to head up DDOT and made on-time performance a priority. 
  • Work continued on improving the track between Ann Arbor and Detroit – a precursor to the Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail project.
  • Michael Ford was hired as the first CEO of the Regional Transit Authority.
  • The alternatives analysis was completed on Woodward. 
  • Michael Cautillo was hired as the CEO for the newly formed NITC Bridge Authority and work continued.

That was quite a year! What does 2015 bring? Well, 2015 is going to be another important year in transportation:

  • Construction of M-1 will continue.
  • A regional transit plan will be developed. 
  • Transit studies on Gratiot and Michigan will begin. 
  • The environmental study of Woodward BRT will be completed. 
  • Activities leading to construction of the new bridge will continue.

All these activities are important; however, nothing transportation-related is more important than the ballot proposal to increase transportation funding in May. Nothing is more important than this ballot proposal because it could define the future condition of our transportation system for the next four years. It is so important, and really so easy to understand: a yes vote will result in an additional $110 million to improve public transit and an additional $1.2 billion to improve the condition of our roads. A no vote means public transit and the condition of our roads and bridges get worse. They do not stay the same – they get worse! It is just that easy.


Over the next few weeks, SEMCOG will be releasing information on the specifics of the ballot proposal to help you better understand it and everything that it contains, because a lot is proposed to change. We will provide you with information on what the proposed changes are and how it all comes together. With all of this education though, just remember “Yes” means things get better. “No” means that things get worse. It is up to you.


Carmine Palombo
If you want to know what about anything related to transportation in Southeast Michigan, don’t miss Carmine Palombo's blog. Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG. He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan.

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