Washtenaw County agencies seek federal transportation funds for buses, roundabouts, bike lanes, more

Biodiesel buses, roundabouts, accessible sidewalk ramps, and road resurfacing are among the projects for which the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) is requesting federal funding as part of the 2024-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

WATS has submitted the proposals on behalf of local governments and public transportation providers, as well as the Michigan Department of Transportation. WATS Transportation Planner Suzann Flowers says the projects all aim to further the goals of WATS' 2045 Long Range Plan, which include equity, safety, access, and mobility.

WATS is requesting $43.8 million in funding, but the agency anticipates receiving only $36.3 million from the federal government – meaning some agencies will likely not get the funding they requested for their projects. The final disbursement of funds will be determined by WATS.

“One thing that we would ask members of the public to do is to go to the miwats.org/shapethefuture website and review the projects,” says Flowers via email. “Any person can provide comments on the projects that are being proposed and those comments will be shared with the WATS Policy Committee, who ultimately decides which projects will receive federal funds.”

Many of the projects include road resurfacing across the county. Requested sections include Miller Avenue, Miller Road, Dexter-Pinckney Road, Earhart Road, State Road, Harriet Street, Hewitt Road, Nixon Road, Pauline Boulevard, Clark Road, Waters Road, Cornell Road, and Golfside Road in addition to the roads encompassed by the City of Ann Arbor’s Capital Maintenance Project request. Additional or expanded bicycle lanes, including potential tie-ins to the Border-to-Border bike trail on Cornell Road in Ypsilanti, are also a part of many of the resurfacing plans.

TheRide is requesting a total of 12 large low-emission biodiesel buses (four per year) to replace current aging vehicles that have reached the end of their lifespans, and People’s Express is requesting funding for an indoor parking facility on Whitmore Lake’s Barker Road that will include electric vehicle charging stations.

Another request calls for traffic signal interconnection, optimization, and modernization for 49 intersections including Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Maple Road, Ellsworth Road, Textile Road, Carpenter Road, Huron River Drive, Golfside Road, Hewitt Road, and Packard Road.

Other projects include new roundabouts (at the Zeeb Road and Scio Church Road intersection and the Nixon Road and Bluett Drive intersection), ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps in several locations, and a new sidewalk on South Main Street from Stadium Boulevard to Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

WATS estimates that final funding decisions will be made in January or February at the latest.

Sabine Bickford Brown is a freelance writer and editor based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at sabinebickfordbrown@gmail.com

Map courtesy of WATS.
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