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GVMC to identify funding needs

Number of road miles in Kent, Ottawa rated ‘good’ has declined from 481 in 2016 to 297 in 2018.

November 30, 2018
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(As seen on WZZM 13 TV) The Grand Valley Metro Council has begun the planning process for the fiscal year 2020-23 Transportation Improvement Program.

The TIP identifies transportation projects within Kent and eastern Ottawa counties proposed by local jurisdictions, transit agencies, and state and federal transportation officials. Federal law requires the TIP to be updated every three years.

The Transportation Programming Study Group, a subcommittee of GVMC’s Technical Committee, will have two public meetings at 9 a.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 5 at GVMC’s office, 678 Front Ave. NW, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, to select eligible projects for the TIP. The meetings also will have opportunities for public comment.

Over 1,700 road projects in Kent and eastern Ottawa counties will be considered for TIP eligibility.

The initial planning process for the FY2020-23 TIP comes at a critical time for the state of local roads. Andrea Faber, transportation planner for GVMC, said the pavement condition of roads in the GVMC’s jurisdiction has gradually been declining over the past three years.

“It’s a lack of funding, and it illustrates the need to develop asset management plans with the hope of improving the condition of our network into the future,” she said.

According to data from GVMC’s transportation department, the number of road miles rated good and fair in Kent and eastern Ottawa counties has declined from 481 good in 2016 to 297 in 2018. The number of road miles rated fair has gone up slightly, 489 in 2016 to 490 in 2018.

In addition, the number of road miles rated poor has risen, from 420 in 2016 to 490 in 2018.

The GVMC transportation department surveyed 2,350 miles of road network in the Kent and eastern Ottawa boundary utilizing the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) system. Of those miles, 1,657 were on the federal aid network and 693 were on the local network for GVMC members.

Faber said TIP eligible projects are usually funded with 70 percent federal dollars and 30 percent by the local municipality, although the maximum a project can be federally funded is 80 percent.

A given project’s PASER rating will determine whether it is eligible for the TIP, as well as what type of funding it may receive. The PASER rating scale is as follows:

  • PASER 1-3: Eligible for reconstruction funding

  • PASER 4: Eligible for structural overlay funding

  • PASER 5-6: Eligible for sealcoat/thin overlay funding

  • PASER 7: Eligible for crack sealing funding

  • PASER 8-10: Not eligible for federal funds

TIP eligible projects also will be determined based on three performance measures — safety, condition and congestion.

In addition to the two meetings scheduled, the GVMC will give other opportunities for the public to participate in TIP development over the next several months, including submitting comments about proposed projects or transportation priorities at gvmc.org/tip.

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