Open MIC Blog

Proposed Revisions to the MIC’s Public Involvement Plan

We are interested to know your thoughts about the changes we are proposing to our Public Involvement Plan.

The MIC’s Public Involvement Plan (PIP) spells out our process for obtaining public input as an integral part of the transportation planning process.  Public Mtg participants

Recently we put these procedures to the test, during the development of our Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  We noted several edits, deletions and additions to be incorporated into the 2013 PIP document as approved revisions.  The proposed revisions are:

 1. Delete all references to air quality consultations

Why is this being proposed?

As of late 2014, Duluth has received an ‘Attainment’ area for air quality; therefore federal ‘conformity consultation’ requirements no longer apply.  (pages 7, 29, 33, 50)

2. Discontinue the step of placing hard copies of the Draft and Final TIPs and LRTPs at area libraries for review.

Why is this being proposed?

Placing hard copies at the libraries was a method of distribution that predated the 2005 SAFETEA-LU mandate to utilize electronic and online channels (e.g., CDs, websites and email) to deliver plans and planning process information.  At that time the MIC switched from producing printed versions to formatting our plans as PDFs designed to be viewed online, as well as developing online-only visualization features such as interactive mapping.  (pages 29, 30, 33, 40, 41)

 3. Add the following language for members of the public who wish to give comments at regularly scheduled meetings of the Policy Board, TAC, HTAC and BPAC:

 Speaker Rules – for Commenting at MIC Policy Board, TAC, HTAC and BPAC meetings (page 11)

  • Give your name and affiliation (if any)
  • Comment Time Limit: 3 minutes*
  • Limit your remarks to the specific plan, study or document under consideration by the Board
  • Be respectful in dialogue

* The Chair, with committee approval, has the option of extending or closing the public comment period, depending on the number of people who wish to speak and the length of the meeting agenda

Why is this being proposed?

The point of the speaker rules is to ensure that all people who show have the opportunity to have their say.  The 3-minute time limit is consistent with Duluth City Council and St. Louis County Commission rules.  Some flexibility in the amount of time for each speaker is allowed.

Let us know what you think

Public comments about the proposed changes may be made from December 14, 2014 through January 30, 2015, by commenting below, or contact Rondi Watson at (218) 529-7511 or by email .

Comments are also welcomed in person at the MIC Policy Board meeting on Wed, February 18, 2015, at 7pm at the Hermantown Dept. of Public Safety Training Center, 5111 Maple Grove Road, Hermantown, MN.  The proposed revisions will be presented for a vote at this time, along with a summary of all comments received during the public comment period.

To view a copy of the 2013 Plan and the proposed changes, please visit www.dsmic.org/pip.

 

Last Call for Comments on 2019 Transportation Projects

Almost $10 million of federal funding is being programmed for Duluth area transportation projects in 2019, and you have the opportunity to review and comment.

2019ProjectApps-ImageStrip550px

The programmed projects include:

  • Bridge preservation on the Blatnik bridge and the Mesaba Avenue bridge over Superior Street in downtown Duluth;
  • Mill and overlay of Highway 39 in Gary/New Duluth;
  • Resurfacing of Maple Grove Road (from Midway Road to Westberg Road) in Hermantown;
  • Pavement reclamation and storm sewer repairs on E 8th St/E 9th St in Duluth’s East hillside; and
  • Duluth Transit Authority operations (approx. $2 million in FTA funding programmed for continued public transit operations.

Additional project details are described in a post from March 5th, when they were first proposed.  As noted in that post, because federal funding is public money, the public has the right for their comments to be recorded and reported on these projects. 

The MIC will be taking official public comment on all projects included in the 2016-2019 Duluth Area TIP – from July 12 to August 13th

You may leave your comments in the section at the end of this blog post, and you are welcome to stop by the ARDC offices and speak with MIC staff directly during a couple of “Open House” days from 9am to 5pm on Thursday, August 12th and Friday, August 13th.

Look the projects over – do you have anything to say about them?<br></br>

How federal transportation dollars will be spent in Duluth…4 years from now

Although it fluctuates from year to year, about $8 million – on average– of federal transportation assistance comes in to the Duluth area.  Of that amount, approximately $6 million is allocated for MnDOT projects, and $2 million goes to county and city projects.

Each year several new transportation improvement projects are proposed by these jurisdictions, for four years in advance.  This allows the time needed to do the planning and engineering work before they can be implemented.

This year, five projects are being proposed to utilize the $8 million in federal funding estimated to be available in year 2019.  These projects and their estimated costs are listed below.

Because federal funding is public money, the public has the right for their comments to be recorded and reported on these projects.  Look the projects over – do you have anything to say about them?    

E9th225pxE 8th Street/E 9th Street – Pavement Preservation
A mill and overlay of the existing pavement on the 1.6 miles of E 8th Street/E 9th Street between 6th Avenue E and Woodland Avenue.  Repairs to storm water, curb and gutter, and sidewalk will also be part of this project.
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost:  $1,300,000 ($860,000 federal funds; $440,000 local funds)

MapleGrove225pxMaple Grove Road – Pavement Preservation
A mill and overlay of 3.5 miles of Maple Grove Road from Midway Road to Westberg Road.  The project will include intersection improvements at Midway Road and at LaVaque Road.
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County
Project Cost:  $2,000,000 ($1,600,000 federal funds; $400,000 local funds)

McCuen150pxMcCuen Street (State Highway 39) – Pavement Preservation
Resurfacing of 1 mile of highway from State Highway 23 to the Oliver Bridge.
Jurisdiction: MnDOT District 1
Project Cost:  $900,000 ($720,000 federal funds; $180,000 state funds)

 

MesabiBridge150pxMesaba Ave, Bridge # 6544 – Bridge Repainting (Preservation)
Repainting of the understructure of the bridge over Superior Street in Downtown Duluth.
Jurisdiction: MnDOT District 1
Project Cost:  $1,500,000 ($1,200,000 federal funds; $300,000 state funds)  

 

Blatnik150pxBlatnik Bridge – Bridge Repainting (Preservation)
Repainting the superstructure of the I-535 bridge over St. Louis Bay.  This project includes a cost-share with WisDOT.
Jurisdiction: MnDOT District 1
Project Cost:  $8,260,000 ($3,717,000 federal funds; $413,000 MnDOT funds; $4,130,000 WisDOT funds)

 

You may have noticed that what these projects have in common is preservation of existing roads and bridges.  This is a trend that will continue as transportation funding becomes more scarce. In our area (and throughout the state) we will be seeing very little new construction in the coming years.

More information about the Duluth Area TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) and the projects being proposed for 2019 can be found on the MIC’s website at www.dsmic.org.

Meanwhile, if you have any opinions about these proposed projects, we welcome your comments.

What will our Transportation System Look Like in 2040?

Updating the 25-year Vision for Transportation in the Twin Ports

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You are invited to attend one of the four public meetings on Connections 2040 – the Twin Ports Long Range Transportation Plan.

 

The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council (MIC) is updating its Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) to provide policy guidance, goals and strategies for jurisdictions within the greater metropolitan area of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.  It covers a twenty-five year planning horizon and is updated every four years.Connections2040-logo-320px

The over-arching purpose of the LRTP is to provide a planning foundation for jurisdictions to work cooperatively to provide a well-maintained, integrated, accessible and multi-modal transportation system to safely and efficiently move people and freight for the next 25 years, within the constraints of funding the region can reasonably expect to receive.

The heart of the Plan is a listing of proposed federally-funded transportation projects, as well as transportation initiatives underway within the region, to be implemented from 2015-2040. You can view an interactive map of the projects here.

To learn more about demographic trends for this area, projections, transportation priorities and planned projects, you have three opportunities for input:

1. Attend a Public Meeting

Thurs. Sept 11, 2014
5:00-7:00pm
Community Action Duluth, 2424 W 5th Street, Duluth, MN 55806

Thurs. Sept 18, 2014
4:00-6:00pm
Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Avenue, Superior, WI 54880

Thurs. Sept 25, 2014
4:00-6:00pm
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC)
221 W First Street, Duluth, MN 55802

Mon. Sept 29, 2014
4:00-7:00pm (drop-in)
214 West Superior Street
221 W First Street, Duluth, MN 55802

2.  Visit our Connections 2040 web page at www.dsmic.org/lrtp for more information about the plan and to view the interactive map of proposed projects.  You can use the “layers” tab in the upper right corner to toggle on and off views of information about environmentally sensitive areas, low-income and minority populations, etc.

3.  Contact MIC Senior Planner James Gittemeier by phone at (218) 529-7556 or by email at jgittemeier@ardc.org.

 

New Federally Funded Projects for 2018

An average of $86 million in federal transportation dollars is spent on transportation projects throughout the northeast region of Minnesota. RoadConstruction

How that money is allocated

These funds are allocated according to a federal formula and managed by the state.  Most of this money (about $78 million) goes to MnDOT and is used to maintain the freeways, state highways and bridges in the region.  Approximately $5 million goes towards county highways, local streets, and transit in the,the MIC area.  A small allocation is also made for non-roadway projects, such as paved trails, through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Separate processes are conducted for the Duluth metro and the rest of the Arrowhead region.  The MIC administers the urban-area share of the funds and the Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership (NE MN ATP) is responsible for administering the rest.

Both the MIC and the NE MN ATP solicit, evaluate and select the specific roadway, transit and trail projects that will utilize the funds in those areas.  These processes have been underway since the start of the year.

Programming those funds in the TIP

As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for this area, we are now finalizing the roster of all transportation projects slated to receive federal funding in the MIC area for the next four years.

This list is called the “TIP” (Transportation Improvement Program) and it must include all federally-funded transportation projects in the Duluth metro for the coming four years.  As projects in the current year get built, we add new ones to the outer year.  This time around, the outer year is 2018.

MIC Projects

It is our job to work with local communities to determine how our (increasingly scarce share of) federal transportation dollars are spent.

In a selection process that began in January, we solicited applications from local jurisdictions.  These potential projects were then published for public comment, evaluated and prioritized by the MIC’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and recommended by the MIC Policy Board, submitted for consideration to the NE MN ATP, and, in June, approved for inclusion in the draft version of the Duluth Area TIP 2015-2018.

The following Duluth-area projects are being proposed for 2018 funding by the MIC:

 Decker Road Preservation

Resurfacing of Decker Road from Piedmont Avenue to Mall Drive.  Repairs to storm water, curb and gutter and sidewalk systems. ADA improvements and bike lanes/shoulders.

Jurisdiction: City of Duluth

Project Cost:             $1,412,500

Federal funds:          $   900,000

Local funds:              $   512,500

Highway Ramp Reconstruction

Reconstruct US Hwy 2 / I-35 southbound freeway ramps

Jurisdiction: MnDOT

Project Cost:             $495,670

Federal funds:          $383,720

State funds:              $ 95,930

Regular Route Bus Purchase

Purchase of three regular route vehicles to maintain existing fleet to safety, comfort, and efficiency standards.

Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority

Bus Purchase Cost: $ 435,000

Federal funds:          $ 250,000

Local funds               $ 185,000

TAP Projects

In addition, the following Transportation Alternatives Program projects within the MIC have been forwarded for inclusion in the 2017 TIP projects list by the NE MN ATP:

 Construct 2 miles of sidewalk along Rice Lake Road

From Central Entrance to Arrowhead Road

Jurisdiction: St. Louis County

Project Cost:             $400,000

Federal funds:          $320,000

Local funds:              $ 80,000

Construct paved Lakewalk connection

Construct shared use path (Lakewalk) along Water St between 20th Ave East and 23rd Ave East

Jurisdiction: City of Duluth

Project Cost:             $231,809

Federal funds:          $185,447

Local funds:              $ 46,362

 

We want to know what you think!

Transportation projects are public facilities and services funded with taxpayer dollars.  Do you have any opinions about the importance of these proposed projects to our area?

Since they have been chosen for funding in 2018, is there anything you have to say about these specific projects?

 

Read the draft document

You can learn more details about these projects, as well as those lined up for years 2015, 2016 and 2017 from the draft TIP document, which is open for public comment from now until July 31.

 

Talk to us in person

Contact Senior Planner Robert Herling by phone at (218) 529-7573 or by email (INSERT EMAIL LINK), or…

 

Attend an Open House

You are invited to stop by in person to talk with us:

Wed, July 2, 7:00am – 1:00pm

Holiday Center (2nd floor skywalk level), 207 West Superior Street in downtown Duluth

Thurs, July 10, 8:00am – 5:00pm

MIC Office, 2nd floor skywalk level of the ARDC building, 221 W. First Street, Duluth.

 

Leave a comment at the end of this post

As we let you know on OpenMIC every year…there are three ways to have your say.

Public comments are being taken through Thursday, July 31, 2014.