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United States Under Secretary of Transportation Highlights Federal Transportation Initiatives at 2013 Capital Conference

clock April 11, 2013 07:59 by author dwestbrook


Polly Trottenbergy,m U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation Policy speaks at the 2013 MML Capital Conference.

By John LaMacchia

United States Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at our 2013 Capitol Conference Awards Luncheon. Due to President Obama's decision to release his budget on the same day their was a last minute change of plans and he was unable to attend. We were very fortunate that Polly Trottenberg, United States Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, was able to attend in his place and provided a very informative presentation on federal transportation initiatives and their role in Michigan.

As a result of President Obama's budget being released on the same day as her presentation, she was able to give specific details about his plan. He is going to be moving forward with his "Fix it First Model", and will be asking for $50 billion in upfront money to jump start his vision for improving infrastructure across America and creating a 21st century transportation system. The President is proposing that $10 billion of that $50 billion be specifically concentration on local efforts and is committed to working with individual communities to integrate this investment.

Ms. Trottenberg drew a very direct correlation between the the long-term sustainability of the Federal Highway Trust Fund and decreasing revenue for road funding in Michigan. Much like Michigan, the Federal Government has not seen an increase in the federal gas tax rate in many years. This has resulted in less dollars available as more fuel efficient vehicles take to the road and the number of vehicle miles traveled decreases. Even with these problems, she highlighted the importance of needed investment to build a complete transportation system.

Other exciting news included a $40 Billion commitment by the President to the rail system in the United States. This includes $6.4 Billion to intercity rail systems. Ms. Trottenberg highlighted how the State of Michigan has made great strides in the City of Detroit with the M1 Rail project and the recent passage of the Regional Transit Authority. She also mention that a 5th round of TIGER Grants will be made available by the Federal Government and encouraged the State of Michigan to continue to look for innovative ways to use those funds.

Ms. Trottenberg's presentation was one of hope and optimism. The commitment by the Obama administration to our local communities was well received by our member and she was rewarded with a enthusiastic applause upon conclusion of her presentation.

Following her keynote address, Ms. Trottenberg was kind enough to participate in a press conference with Executive Director of the League Dan Gilmartin, League President David Lossing, Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan, and State Senator Roger Kahn. She described how investing in transportation is key to our nations economic success, and to Michigan's economic success. Executive Director Gilmartin, League President Lossing, and Mayor Noonan, highlighted the need for Michigan to move its transportation system out out the 20th Century and into the 21st Century. Legislative inaction on this issue is no longer and option. New revenue for road is needed in this state and those new dollars need to be spent in our local communities building great place were people want to live, work, and play. Senator Kahn, who has been a great leader on the issue of increasing road funding in Michigan, highlighted the benefits of saving lives, creating jobs, and saving money, as a result of investing in infrastructure.

The Michigan Municipal League was honored to have Ms. Trottenberg participate in our Capital Conference this year. We are very please with the encouraging message she delivered about President Obama's commitment to the nations transportation system, and the recognition of Michigan's critical role in that system.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

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2013 Capital Conference Gets Under Way with Inspirational Story

clock April 9, 2013 16:46 by author Matt Bach

LANSING, Michigan - Michigan Municipal League President David Lossing kicked off the 2013 League Capital Conference today with a personal story about how he recently donated his bone marrow to a complete stranger as part of the Michigan Blood Be the Match Program.

Lossing told his inspirational tale to encourage other municipal leaders at the conference to sign up for the bone marrow registry. Officials from Michigan Blood are attending the Conference at the Lansing Center to register attendees. Those signing up are asked to make a $25 donation and Lossing has generously offered to cover the fee for the first 10 League members who register.

In addition to sharing his bone marrow donation story, Lossing also outlined the successes and challenges experienced by Michigan communities in the past year. He discussed the League’s legislative priorities for the current 97th Michigan legislature. Those priorities are fixing the personal property tax legislation passed in December, ending non-stop cuts to revenue sharing to communities and increasing transportation funding.

About 500 municipal leaders from all portions of the state are attending this year's Capital Conference. Some of the speakers at this year’s event are Governor Rick Snyder, John Porcari, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and Michigan Budget Director John Nixon.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Linden Mayor and MML President David Lossing kicks off 2013 Capital Conference.

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Finance Experts to Lead Budget Discussion at 2013 MML Conference

clock April 1, 2013 11:26 by author Matt Bach

LANSING, Michigan - Mitch Bean, former director of the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, and Eric Lupher, Director of Local Affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, will participate in a panel discussion on Michigan’s budget situation and trends in Michigan’s budgets and their effect on our local municipalities. The discussion, moderated by League Vice President and Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan, will take place 3:15-4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the Michigan Municipal League's 2013 Capital Conference in Lansing.

Bean and Lupher will participate in a panel discussion following a presentation by current Michigan Budget Director John Nixon. View the full conference agenda. Register online here. Nixon is among several top government officials headlining this year's Capital Conference. Also speaking are Governor Rick Snyder, and John Porcari, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation. View all the speakers here.

More about Bean and Lupher:

Mitchell E. Bean, Great Lakes Economic Consulting, formerly served as the Director of the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, a nonpartisan agency within the Michigan House of Representatives. He was one of three voting members of the Michigan Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference which, by law, determines the official economic and revenue forecast that serves as the basis for the state budget. Prior to his appointment as Agency Director, Bean was the Chief Economist for the Michigan House of Representatives. He has extensive experience in forecasting Michigan's tax revenue, and has produced numerous publications on related topics. In addition, he has been a regular participant in discussions at the Midwest Economic Roundtable, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.Be3an received a B.A. in economics from Washington State University, Pullman, WA, and an M.A. in economics from Michigan State University.

Eric Lupher is Director of Local Affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, where he has served in various capacities since 1987.  During that time, Lupher has done studies on a number of state and local government policy issues, including extensive work on local government consolidation and collaboration. He also manages the CRC website.  After serving as treasurer of the Governmental Research Association for 15 years, he currently serves as the association’s president.  He served six years on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), an advisory body for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), representing the user community on behalf of the Governmental Research Association.  Lupher received a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison College in Michigan State University and a Masters of Public Administration from Wayne State University.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached mbach@mml.org and 734) 669-6317.

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Michigan Budget Director John Nixon to Talk Finance at 2013 Conference

clock April 1, 2013 11:11 by author Matt Bach


Michigan Budget Director John Nixon.

LANSING, Michigan - Michigan’s budget woes have been notorious over the last decade, and our communities have taken the hit. While we now have a balanced budget under Governor Snyder’s administration, we aren’t seeing a dramatic change toward local communities. During the Michigan Municipal League's 2013 Capital Conference, attendees will have a chance to hear from State Budget Director John Nixon as well as panel of economists and experts to discuss trends in Michigan’s budgets and their effect on our local municipalities.

This "Taking Back the Budget" general session will occur 3:15-4:430 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the League's annual legislative conference. View the full conference agenda. Register online here. Nixon is among several top government officials headlining this year's Capital Conference. Also speaking are Governor Rick Snyder, and John Porcari, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation. View all the speakers here.

More about John Nixon: He is is director of the Michigan Department of Technology and the State Budget Office, heading an agency of nearly 2,700 employees who provide a full range of services to Michigan's citizens, businesses, state agencies, state employees and retirees. In this role, Nixon is leading the department's mission of providing vital administrative and technology services to enable Michigan's reinvention, with the vision of making the State of Michigan one of the most innovative and responsive governments in the world. Nixon is a certified public accountant who came to Michigan from the State of Utah, where he served as director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget from 2006-2010. In 2012, Nixon was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine, which cited his role in Michigan's turnaround. He was also named one of Government Technology magazine's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in 2012, recognized for cutting through the public sector's barriers to innovation to reshape government operations for the better. He also was honored as the 2012 Outstanding CPA in Government by the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. He was adjunct professor in the University of Utah MPA program and served as president of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) in 2010.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached mbach@mml.org and 734) 669-6317.

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Governor Rick Snyder to Speak at League's Capital Conference

clock March 25, 2013 14:57 by author Matt Bach


Governor Rick Snyder is to speak at the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will speak at the Welcoming Session during the Michigan Municipal League’s 2013 Capital Conference in Lansing, April 9-10. The governor will provide his administration's viewpoint on key policy issues confronting the state and local municipalities. We expect Governor Snyder to take questions from the audience so feel free to come and share what's on your mind.

The Governor is one of numerous top state and national officials coming to the 2013 Conference. Other speakers include U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari; Mitch Bean, Great Lakes Economic Consulting, formerly served as the Director of the Michigan House Fiscal Agency; John E. Nixon, director of the Michigan Department of Technology and the State Budget Office; Senator Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing, is Senior Democratic Leader; Hiram Fitzgerald, associate provost for University Outreach and Engagement and a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University; Debra Horner, a project manager with the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Senator Roger Kahn, a Republican for the 32nd district, comprised of Saginaw and Gratiot counties; and Eric Lupher, Director of Local Affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The Conference is in just two weeks, but there's still time to register. Register today here.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

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