Table of


Transportation Summit

Water Quality
Meet WQC Leadership

TMDL Lake Erie Basin

ODOT Safety Funds

Distracted Driving

TIP Public Meetings

Regional Safety Plan

ODOT & Canadian Consulate Special Reports

Ohio Sunshine Laws Certification Training

Nuisance Abatement and Code Enforcement



TMACOG’s Transportation Summit is an annual high point for area planners, builders, and elected officials with substantive panel discussion and a timely keynote address. Register here.

2020 Transportation Summit
“Transportation’s Role in Public Health”
Friday, March 27, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Premier Banquet Hall, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo

The 2020 keynote speaker is Nichole Fifer, Ph.D., Economic Development Research Coordinator, at the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University. She will be looking at the relationship between public transit and public health. Ms. Fifer’s doctorate is in public policy and public administration from Wayne State University. She also holds an MPA in environmental management.

The program includes a construction update looking at the near future in the TMACOG planning region.

The panel discussion will feature Chuck Smith with Ohio Bicycle Federation, Bob Kazmierczak with AAA of Northwest Ohio, and Kimberly Dunham of TARTA.

Thank you to our sponsors:
AAA Northwest Ohio
DGL Consulting Engineers, LLC
The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc
Ohio Bicycle Federation
Transportation Advocacy Group of Northwest Ohio
Tetra Tech

The Transportation Advocacy Group
of Northwest Ohio

Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority

Engineering & Consulting

Water Quality

Meet Water Quality Leadership

The Water Quality Council has elected new leadership for 2020. Jon Eckel, assistant to the City Administrator in Perrysburg, was elected chair. Melissa Hopfer, sustainability project manager for Lucas County Commissioners, was elected vice chair.

Jon Eckel has had a long career in public service entirely in the City of Perrysburg. He says he has operated every piece of equipment owned by that city and hired 80 percent of the non-fire, non-police staff. During his career, he oversaw wastewater treatment plant updates totaling several millions of dollars, consolidated services to form the department of public utilities, and forged public/private partnerships to save money and improve services.
He plans to widen the scope of Water Quality Council interests this year to include economic impacts of water quality and invasive species. Eckel recently wrote an op-ed for the Toledo Blade that brings his experience as a wastewater treatment operator to bear on the current problems with Harmful Algal Blooms.

Before she began work with the Board of Lucas County Commissioners in 2015, Melissa Hopfer was a sustainability specialist with Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District. She was also, briefly, a legislative aide for the City of Toledo city council. She is a graduate of BGSU with an undergraduate degree in environmental policy and analysis and her master’s in public administration.
“I’m excited to tackle sustainability issues on a more regional level,” she said. “Jon and I have talked about social and economic impact of harmful algal blooms which is as important as the science of nutrients in waterways.” She added that she believes her work is really about protecting the quality of life for people. One of her goals for the year is to use the strong regional voice of TMACOG to continue to encourage state and federal action in support of Lake Erie. She’s also looking forward to engaging with the agricultural community. “Their voice is very important as we work for real impact on the health of our waterways.”

Ohio EPA Commits to TMDL study - Public Comment Sought

A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a tool that identifies sources of water pollution and calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant that can enter a body of water while still allowing that body to meet water quality standards. Lake Erie advocacy groups and local governments have long argued that a TMDL is called for in the western Lake Erie basin. The Environmental Law & Policy Center, the City of Toledo, Lucas County, and others sued the U.S. EPA in efforts to force Ohio EPA to develop a TMDL. Now the Ohio EPA has committed to developing one in the next two to three years. more



Safety Program Covers 100% of Costs

In a February announcement, ODOT announced relief for local governments applying for funding for transportation projects that improve safety.

Until last month, ODOT required a 10 percent local contribution for these projects. Under new rules, ODOT will cover the entire cost of those qualifying projects. The increased costs to ODOT are funded through revenue provided by the 2019 fuel tax increase.

“In previous years, if communities were not able to match the funding, a project may have unnecessarily been stalled,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “With ODOT now funding 100 percent of safety projects, communities can make needed updates in a timely manner, ensuring the safety of both pedestrians and drivers.”

Safety improvements, such as adding turn lanes, reconstructing rural curves and upgrading signs, signals and pavement markings, are eligible for funding. Funding requests typically range from $200,000 to $5 million, though the department will consider funding requests up to $10 million. ODOT accepts applications twice a year. The deadlines are April 30 and September 30. The department also accepts abbreviated applications any time of year for projects $500,000 or less. Information about the program can be found on ODOT’s website.


Distracted Driving Causes Crashes

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is promoting a Hands Free Ohio bill that would strengthen Ohio’s laws regarding the use of phones and other wireless devices while driving.

Since 2013, Ohio has experienced five years of rising traffic crashes and deaths. A report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that dialing, talking, or texting on a phone increased the odds of a crash between two to 12 times. Just reaching for a handheld cell phone increased the odds of a crash nearly five times. Researchers also found that almost 70 percent of drivers involved in a crash were engaged in some sort of distraction in the seconds leading up to a crash. See more information from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration here.

The proposed bill would make driving while handling any electronic wireless device a primary offense, meaning that a driver may be pulled over and ticketed if they are seen to be using a phone or tablet in a car even if there is no other infraction. Using a device includes texting, reading messages, watching or recording videos, and taking photos or looking at photos. Using GPS is allowed but only if the destination is typed in before the car is moving and the phone itself is not in the driver’s hand or lap. There are exemptions for emergencies and a few other circumstances. The new Hands-Free Ohio bill is sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Kunze and Sen. Sean J. O'Brien.

Public Meetings for Local Transportation Funding Program

The TIP is the TMACOG Transportation Improvement Program, the short term (4-year) planning program that allocates federal funds to local governments in Lucas and Wood counties.

The fiscal year 2021 -2024 TIP will include approximately $396 million in programmed projects from all sources: $265 million in federal dollars, $52 million in state, and $72 million more


Region’s Safety Plan Approved

TMACOG recently completed and published a Regional Safety Plan that has been in development for most of a year. The 76-page plan examines types of crashes in our region, factors that may contribute to them, and recommends strategies for reducing fatalities and serious injuries. Local governments and agencies are invited to use the report as a resource for local efforts to reduce crashes and more


ODOT & Canadian Consulate Special Reports

A new bridge crossing between Detroit and Ontario, Canada may have significant impacts on freight traffic and industry in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. Joe Comartin, Consul General, Canadian Consulate in Detroit, will be a special guest speaker at TMACOG’s April 15 Board of Trustees meeting to discuss the Gordie Howe International Bridge and its expected impact on the region. Jack Marchbanks, Director, Ohio Department of Transportation, will introduce Mr. Comartin, and also give an update on ODOT policy following the Consul General’s more

Registration is Now Open: Ohio Sunshine Laws Certification Training

Two trustees walk into a coffee shop. Did a meeting just break out? A citizen has just requested cell phone records from every member of the fire department. What do you do? Better understand your responsibilities and duties with this training session.

Elected officials in Ohio are required to complete Ohio Sunshine Laws Certification Training during each elected term. The next regional session is Friday, April 17, 8:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. at Owens Community College. Training is conducted by the Ohio Attorney General’s office. This session fills up quickly. For special accommodations, contact Jennifer Allen, 419.241.9155, ext. 1107

TMACOG Tech: Nuisance Abatement and Code Enforcement

Cars on the lawn, a firing range in the back yard, garage sale every weekend. What is allowed and how do villages and townships manage nuisance properties when they have limited enforcement options?
This TMACOG Tech session will look at options and tools that smaller municipalities can use for fair and effective management of code enforcement and nuisance abatement.

Wednesday, April 29, 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Grand Lobby of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
300 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Toledo

Bob Bethel of the Employers’ Association will be moderating. The panel will consist of Jeff Stopar, an attorney with Semro, Henry & Barga; Jacob Barnes, planning director for Springfield Township; and Rosanna Hoelzle, village administrator, Swanton. The health departments from Lucas and Wood counties will also be participating.

There is no fee but registration is required. The deadline to register is Friday, April 24. For special accommodations, contact Jennifer Allen at 419.241.9155 ext. 1107 with questions.

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Copyright © 2019 Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments

See our Calendar for 2020 Council & Committee meetings.

Upcoming Events

2020 Transportation Summit
Friday, March 27,
8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Premier Banquet Hall, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo

Transportation Improvement Program Public meetings
Thursday, April 2,
4 - 6 p.m.
ODOT District 2, 317 East Poe Rd. Bowling Green

Tuesday, April 7, 4-6 p.m.,
TMACOG Boardroom, 300 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Toledo

Canadian Consulate Report on Gordie Howe Bridge
Wednesday, April 15, 2 p.m.
Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, Toledo

Ohio Sunshine Laws Certification Training
Friday, April 17, 8:45 a.m. -
12:15 p.m.
Owens Community College, Veterans Hall, Perrysburg

Nuisance Abatement
and Code Enforcement

Wednesday, April 29, 8:30 - 10 a.m.
Grand lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, Toledo