Fowkes Named Road Commission Chairman, Wilson is Vice Chair

Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson

The three-member Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Board, at its regularly scheduled meeting today (Jan. 8), elected Ron Fowkes Board chairman and Eric Wilson vice chairman.

Greg Jamian

Greg Jamian

The third Board member is former Chairman Greg Jamian. The Board traditionally elects its officers at the first meeting of the new year in January.

“Although our operating budget declined for much of the last decade, we are ardently committed to providing the safest roads in Michigan,” Chairman Fowkes said. “Oakland County has consistently had among the lowest traffic fatality rates in the nation for a community our size and population,” Fowkes added. “But, this didn’t happen overnight. We have been a leader in using crash-data evaluation as a primary basis for selecting future road projects for more than 30 years.”

The press release stated that Fowkes has served on the RCOC Board since 2011. A resident of the Village of Milford, he has frequently advocated for better roads and highways in Oakland County.

Ron Fowkes

Ron Fowkes

Fowkes served on the Milford Village Council from 1999 through 2006, including serving as its president in 2003. He chaired the West Oakland Corridor Study Steering Committee (which reviewed traffic flow and routes in western Oakland County, 2001-2003), served on the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Municipal League. He owns and operates Sealtite Inspection Company based in Milford.

Fowkes added that, in addition to crash data analysis, RCOC has introduced changes in road design and safety enhancements such as using center-line rumble strips and paved shoulders, to reduce traffic fatalities. Other innovations that have improved motorist safety in Oakland County have included constructing modern roundabouts, which have been shown to reduce intersection fatalities by 90 percent (Oakland County has the highest concentration of roundabouts in the state), as well as RCOC’s system of “smart” traffic signals (the second-largest system in the country).

“Despite reduced funding, we are committed to maintaining safe roads and bridges,” Fowkes noted. “We inspect our class A bridges (greater than 20 feet in length) every two years and our class B bridges (less than 20 feet) every four years.”

He noted the agency also has been able to save money and help protect the environment by cutting in half the amount of salt used to melt ice on the roads. “Using best practices, we have reduced the amount of salt we spread from 400 pounds per lane mile to 200 pounds. One way we did this was by ‘pre wetting’ the salt with liquid brine. The resulting salt/brine mix adheres to the cold road surfaces better and allows us to continue salting to a lower temperature.”

Fowkes also was appointed as the Road Commission representative to the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission for 2015.

Vice-Chairman Wilson is an attorney in private practice and former member of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and the Orion Township Board of Trustees. He was first appointed to the RCOC Board in 2007 and re-appointed in 2013.

Commissioner Jamian has served on the RCOC Board since 2009. He is a resident of Bloomfield Township and former member of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees. For more than 30 years Jamian has been president and CEO of an integrated health-services corporation in Troy.

Road Commission Board members are appointed by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and serve for six-year terms.

Fowkes noted the upcoming May 12 statewide election to increase road funding is critical to RCOC. “The May road/school sales tax increase proposal would gradually increase our operating budget from the current 2015 amount of $62 million to approximately $104 million in 2018,” he explained. “With 42 percent of our paved roads in poor condition—nearly 700 miles, the funding will be put to good use.”

He noted the Board’s goal is to bring RCOC roads to acceptable standards. “Residents of Oakland County deserve the highest quality and safest roads,” the chairman stated.


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