Proposed Road Commission Budget to be Presented August 25

The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will present its proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget during a public hearing Thursday, August 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac.

The public is invited to attend the hearing and offer input on the proposed budget.

The proposed $129 million budget represents an increase of about $25 million compared to the $104 million 2016 budget adopted in September of last year. The 2017 proposed budget increased primarily due to an anticipated increase in state and federal road funding.

Federal funds are awarded on a project-by-project basis, and the amount RCOC receives tends to fluctuate from year to year. These funds can be used only for heavy construction projects and not for routine maintenance activities such as pothole patching, grading gravel roads, plowing, etc.

RCOC anticipates slightly more than $78 million in state road funding, compared to just over $63 million received in the current year. State road funding is derived primarily from state-collected fuel taxes and vehicle-registration fees.

These state dollars represent RCOC’s largest source of funding and its main funding source for operations. The anticipated increase is the result of the increased road funding package enacted by the state Legislature in late 2015, but which will begin to take effect in January 2017.

The proposed 2017 budget includes plans for approximately $64 million worth of road improvement projects such as road widenings, reconstructions, resurfacings and gravel road paving or work toward future road-improvement projects; nearly $29.6 million for road maintenance efforts such as pothole patching, gravel road grading and salting and plowing in the winter; and nearly $11.2 million for maintaining traffic signs, signals, pavement markings and guardrails among other activities. The remainder of the budget is earmarked for operating expenses including customer services, vehicle maintenance, staff wages, buildings and grounds and administration.

RCOC’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. Final adoption of the budget will take place in September.     

“We are very pleased that we will finally see the increased revenue from the state road-funding package. It is not enough to do everything that needs to be done, and it will be phased in over the coming five years, but it will certainly help us begin to restore our road system,” observed RCOC Chairman Ron Fowkes. “Due to the road-funding crisis, our roads have suffered greatly in recent years, and this allows us to finally turn this around and begin to move in the right direction.” 

RCOC Vice Chairman Eric Wilson concurred. “Our Legislature finally enacted a road-funding package in late 2015. It isn’t exactly the package we were looking for, and there’s some question about whether or not the second half of the funding will actually materialize, but it is, at least, a funding increase,” Wilson said.

“We have continued to operate as efficiently as possible while state revenues continued to decline for years,” continued RCOC Board Member Greg Jamian. “The increase is nice this year. However, it does not make up for the past decade of declining revenue. That decline has meant reductions in our road-building and maintenance programs for years.”   

During the public hearing, RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz will provide an overview of the 2017 Road Improvement Program which highlights all of next year’s road construction projects. Among those planned projects are:

  • Widen and reconstruct Baldwin Road between Morgan and Gregory roads in Orion Twp.
  • Culverts on South Blvd. over the Ferry Creek (just west of John R), Rochester Hills
  • Culverts on Snell Road over McClure Drain (just west of Dequindre), Oakland Twp.
  • Culverts on Walton over tributary to Galloway Creek, Rochester Hills
  • Culverts on Walton over tributary to Galloway Creek (east), Rochester Hills
  • Intersection Safety Improvement – South Blvd. at Livernois, Rochester Hills/Troy (add right-turn lanes, resurface, new signal)

“RCOC continues to improve the safety of our roads throughout Oakland County,” said RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “We continue to use the public’s money wisely and strive daily to best meet the needs of our customers.

“Using our resources wisely provides the residents of Oakland County with safer and more efficient roads while improving the quality of life,” Kolar added.

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