Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 16, 2014

Counties to prioritize projects for federal funding

TRAVERSE CITY -- Local road commissions will discuss funding that's on the way from a federal surface transportation program.

MAP-21 -- the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act -- redistributes federal money that can be used for road and transit projects at the local level.

Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties road commissions on Tuesday will host separate discussions on what projects to prioritize for the coming years.

The two counties, along with Benzie County, form a local task force that will receive about $1.2 million in federal MAP-21 funds in the coming year, said Matt Skeels, the director of TC-TALUS, or the Traverse City Transportation And Land Use Study at the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments

"The MAP-21 funding that the communities are meeting on Tuesday is really the way that federal gas tax money is redistributed back to the area," Skeels said. “In terms of reconstruction, it’s probably the largest source of reconstruction funds outside the Grand Traverse County millage that’s been passed."

Representatives from the three counties will discuss the program together on Feb. 26. Grand Traverse County typically gets more money than the other two.

Most recently, program dollars went to pay for the North Long Lake Road reconstruction, Skeels said. Grand Traverse County has plans to resurface parts of Supply Road and South Garfield Road in 2015.

In the past, Leelanau County received about $350,000 in program funds, or enough to resurface a mile of road in a year, said Jim Johnson, the engineer and manager of the Leelanau County Road Commission.

Leelanau County is slated to use its share to resurface three county roads through 2017, Johnson said. Commissioners will discuss whether they need to re-prioritize how they spend the money during a Tuesday meeting.

“We’ve got about 100 miles of primary road, so there’s not enough money coming to us to meet the needs in total,” Johnson said.

The Grand Traverse County Road Commission will host a discussion about the funds on Tuesday at 9 a.m., and the Leelanau Road Commission will host one later that day at 1:30 p.m.

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