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Report on 2012 Transportation Summit
A record 224 people registered for the 18 th TMACOG Transportation Summit on March 30. These attendees participated in a diverse and interesting program with three presentations and a keynote address.

A Roundtable on Major Transportation Initiatives in the Region
This presentation was facilitated by Commissioner Robin Whitney, vice chair, TMACOG Transportation Council, and commissioner of Engineering Services, City of Toledo. The presentation was an overview of planned transportation projects in Lucas and Wood counties and the southern townships of Monroe County, Michigan. System preservation projects include several bridge rehab and paving projects. The largest capacity improvement projects in the region include the US 24 Fort to Port realignment which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012. The ongoing I-475 Interchange project was also updated. The next part of the presentation covered the movement of freight and the impact of truck and train traffic on commuters. Attendees learned about an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that will be deployed on area highways. The network will include changeable signs that alert drivers to congestion or accidents.

Making Safe Routes to School a Reality in Your Community
Deputy City Engineer Rodney, Shultz, P.E., for the City of Oregon, described how his city used state funds as the foundation of a larger campaign to improve safety and encourage school children to walk and cycle to school. Funds were used to make infrastructure improvements including building sidewalks and improving street crossings, and also for training crossing guards. But the city also operates a complete campaign. It is based on five Es: engineering, evaluation, enforcement, education, and encouragement.

Is Change Coming to the Ohio Turnpike?
Deputy Director James P. Riley, Office of Innovative Delivery, ODOT; and Tim Wilschetz, principal, Infrastructure Advisory Practice, KPMG; addressed the various options being considered for the future of the Ohio Turnpike. Options under review include but are not limited to keeping the current management plan, moving operation and responsibility to ODOT, or leasing the turnpike to a third party which would take over operation of the road and the rest stops along the route. The KPMG analysis of options is expected to be released late in 2012 or early 2013. A recommendation will be announced by the state of Ohio sometime after that.

The keynote address was provided by ODOT Director Jerry Wray. His primary theme was on the crisis in funding. Director Wray said that we can either wait on action from Washington D.C., or we can get busy right here in Ohio and develop our own solutions. As there is a federal stalemate in Washington, and as tax income continues to fall and expenses continue to rise, ODOT is working to develop state-wide solutions to funding. ODOT is streamlining the agency with a new division of innovation delivery and reducing staff by the hundreds through attrition. The agency is working to engage the private sector to commercialize rest areas across the state and move from a cost center model to a revenue generator model. Director Wray noted that ODOT is also looking into sponsorships and naming rights for conspicuous assets such as bridges and interchanges.

See presentations on major initiatives and Safe Routes to School here . The major initiative presentation includes historical photos of the construction of the high-level bridge which will be totally renovated starting in 2013.

TMACOG gratefully acknowledges DGL Consulting Engineers, LLC; The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc.; Transportation Advocacy Group of Northwest Ohio; and Wood County Economic Development Commission for supporting the 2012 Transportation Summit.

Commissioner Robin Whitney, vice chair TMACOG Transportation Council and commissioner of Engineerining Services, City of Toledo. The 2012 TMACOG Transportation Summit was held at the Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza.
ODOT Director Jerry Wray. Questions from the floor at the 2012 Transportation Summit.

 

 


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