The Oakland County Federal Aid Task Force, the panel that oversees the process of awarding federal transportation funds to specific road projects within Oakland County, convened on Tuesday, May 8 and decided to bump up the timelines for several lakes area road projects that had been on the back burner.
The task force’s funding committee typically selects road projects in February that will receive federal funding four years in advance. However, due to an expected new source of income and one Oakland County community delaying projects, lakes area communities will benefit.
“It’s in part because the city of Pontiac had to defer and withdraw projects, which freed up money. In addition, we got $1.6 million from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT),” said Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Spokesman Craig Bryson.
A pair of projects were moved from 2015 to 2013 construction dates, including Decker Road in Walled Lake and Cooley Lake Road on the border of Commerce and White Lake townships.
“Decker Road has been deteriorating for years and it’s well overdue,” said Walled Lake Department of Public Works Coordinator Lisa McGill. “We are so thrilled this project got moved to 2013, so not only was our project on North Pontiac Trail moved up, but Decker also. Now our roads will be in good shape.”
The Decker Road project between West Maple and South Commerce roads entails pulverizing the existing pavement, resurfacing and widening travel lanes, paving shoulders, drainage improvements, and the creation of additional curbing.
“We repackaged the project and got it back to the task (force) committee,” said Walled Lake City Manager L. Dennis Whitt. “We were ready to go. We’re willing to adjust our schedule so we didn’t risk losing the $844,000 in federal dollars.”
The project is expected to cost $1.2 million, which includes the $844,000 in federal funds and a $362,000 local match. The city must assume another $96,000 in engineering costs.
The second project moved up from 2015 to 2013 will be conducted along Cooley Lake Road from Williams Lake Road west to Union Lake Road. The $232,000 resurfacing project will impact a one-third mile stretch of roadway.
Milford Road in Milford Township, from Buno Road north to the Milford Village border, will be resurfaced in 2014 instead of 2015 as part of a $1.5 million improvement effort, as well.
Historically the Oakland County Federal Aid Task Force receives funding from two sources: the Surface Transportation Program (STP), which consists of federal dollars awarded to each region based on a formula; and the Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF), a combination of state and federal dollars intended to address congestion caused by economic developments.
Dollars are doled out by the Federal Highway Transportation Committee that uses a formula to disseminate funding to each state. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) then administers that formula here and allocates the available dollars to each county.
The projects are ranked using an objective point system that gives the most points to those projects that will do the most to improve motorist safety and reduce traffic congestion. Then, only the projects that receive the most points receive funding.