Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Classifying Roads Affects Funding

Federal agencies sort roads into seven categories and those roads must be reviewed every 10 years. How roads are categorized determines federal appropriations TMACOG receives. The regional review is now underway at TMACOG.

TMACOG is addressing road classification in Lucas and Wood counties and parts of Fulton and Ottawa counties that fall in the Toledo Urbanized Area. TMACOG coordinates this project with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) which is responsible for classification in Monroe County.

TMACOG Transportation Planner Lisa Householder said that with growth of suburban communities, traffic patterns have changed. She said,
“For example, Waterville has grown from a village to a city since we last reviewed streets. And the realignment of US 24 is completed. There will be classification changes there.”

Upcoming Events - December 2013

Helping Small Communities Meet Their Water and Wastewater System Needs: Presented by Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group
Tuesday, December 3, noon-1:30 p.m.
Contact: Joyce Gray, Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), 440.331.6804

TMACOG Leadership Retreat
Wednesday, December 18, 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155, ext. 179

Informational Meeting for Clean Ohio Fund Applicants
Wednesday, December 18, 10 a.m., TMACOG Boardroom
Contact: Kurt Erichsen, 419.241.9155 ext. 126

TMACOG General Assembly
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg
Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155, ext. 179

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Looking at Transportation in 2045

Our current long range transportation plan, the 2035 Transportation Plan, emphasized investment in our multimodal system but focused much of our federal spending on updating our expressways. The next plan –  for 2015-2045 – is just getting started. TMACOG is asking, how should we focus the next long range plan?
As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Lucas and Wood counties in Ohio and southern Monroe County, Michigan, TMACOG solicits input from all users of the transportation system to maintain our region’s plans. Providers of transportation services, freight operators, commuters, cyclists, and pedestrians all have a stake in how we decide how best to move goods and people.

The 2045 plan will be developed over the next two years. Letters have gone out to major stakeholders in the region asking them to provide their input or to participate in work groups. Public meetings and surveys will roll out in February and March, 2014. See our region’s current plan here and look for opportunities to contribute to the new plan coming soon.  

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT: The Village of Weston

The Wood County village of Weston is just over one square mile and home to about 1,600 residents. The village is west of Bowling Green and south of Grand Rapids. Weston was a founding member of TMACOG in 1968 and recently renewed membership.

Village officials stay busy, working on park improvements, road repair, and economic development projects. This year, the village joined in with several other Wood County communities to apply to the Ohio Public Works Commission for road repair funding. 

Directory of Public Officials

Your help is needed as TMACOG updates the annual Directory of Public Officials. Each year, TMACOG staff updates information for elected and appointed officials in 15 counties, 27 cities, 95 villages, 177 townships, and nine park districts. In addition, the directory includes contact information for chambers of commerce, school districts, and scores of government agencies from farm bureaus to port authorities, to mental health boards. To ensure that we publish correct information, TMACOG staff e-mails or sends letters to every one of the 900 or more entries in the directory, asking for updated information.

Non-elected entries – like schools and public agencies – received letters of request in late October. Counties, cities, villages, and townships will get letters before the end of the calendar year. The 2014 directory will be published in March. To ensure that the TMACOG Directory of Public Officials remains the best single resource for information on government in this region, please return the request promptly. The directory is a benefit of membership and is provided free to members. Non-members can purchase a copy for $150. If you have any questions about the directory, please contact TMACOG Director of Communications, Peggy Ricard at 419.241.9155 ext. 105. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

MEMBER NEWS Ohio Lake Erie Commission

Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, was recently selected by Ohio Governor John Kasich as one of four new appointees to serve on the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC).

“I’m very excited and grateful to begin serving on the Ohio Lake Erie Commission,” said Mr. Toth. “The goals of the OLEC and the goals of the Port Authority are in perfect alignment. Both value Lake Erie as an irreplaceable resource that provides environmental and economic benefits to northwest Ohio. The Port Authority has a history of implementing the best environmental practices by successfully cleaning up brownfield sites and implementing energy efficient projects throughout the region, and is dedicated to improving our community’s quality of life.”

Among other duties, the commission oversees the management of the Lake Erie Protection Fund. Commissioners coordinate state and local policies pertaining to Lake Erie water quality, pollution control, and resource protection. They make recommendations about policies for protection of the lake resources that are consistent with the Great Lakes water quality agreement.

TIP Applications Due Jan. 31, 2014

The fiscal year 2014 -2017 Transportation Improvement Program (the TIP) has been approved by the state of Ohio and TMACOG is accepting applications from communities in Lucas and Wood counties to fill the project pipeline for the next two to three years. Applications for Surface Transportation Program (STP) projects are due January 31, 2014.

See the project budget detail form and print the application package here  (Word and PDF formats provided). For more information, contact TMACOG Transportation Project Manager David Gedeon at 419.241.9155 ext. 125.

Ohio Commended For Road Safety

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has awarded the 2013 Safety Leadership Award to the state of Ohio. The award was presented to ODOT Director Jerry Wray at the AASHTO annual meeting in Colorado.  Ohio leaders have been commended for their commitment to studying road use and crash data and to partnership with local governments and organizations across Ohio. These partnerships – including with MPOs like TMACOG – have led to cost-effective improvements that have contributed to record-law crashes. Over the past decade, Ohio traffic-related deaths have dropped by 28 percent and serious injuries have dropped by 20 percent. This year, Ohio may reach a new historic low by dipping below 1,000 traffic fatalities statewide.

TMACOG recently completed the Safety Locations and Measures Report for Lucas and Wood counties and southern Monroe County, Michigan. It shows that fatal crashes in the TMACOG planning area have consistently been less than Ohio statewide averages. Serious injury and fatal crash rates have also been holding steady or trending down over the past several years. TMACOG’s Safety Locations and Measures Report is a collection and analysis of crash data that is used by regional planners and engineers. TMACOG’s System Performance and Monitoring committee uses the report to select specific highway locations where safety measures are recommended for implementation.

Portage River Plan Endorsed

The Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources have announced their full endorsement of the Portage River Watershed Action Plan Update. The updated plan, completed by the TMACOG Environmental Planning department in early 2013, expanded the original 2012 study area from nine hydrologic unit codes (HUCs) to the entire river basin: 18 HUCs.

An endorsed watershed plan is a critical tool for groups working to protect public health and improve water quality. Watershed plans are recognized by state and federal regulators as primary planning documents and projects based on such plans receive preferential funding. The plan is posted on the Portage River Basin Council pages of tmacog.org here. TMACOG’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees will review and evaluate the Portage River plan at their regularly scheduled meetings.

Clean Ohio Applicants Urged to Attend

Local governments, park districts, and non-profit organizations in Lucas County that plan to apply for grants from the Clean Ohio Fund are strongly encouraged to attend an informational meeting December 18 at 10 a.m. at TMACOG offices. This round of grants will allocate $1,268,954 for open space acquisition and preservation.

At the December 18 meeting, members of the Lucas County Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC) will explain the program and its goals and answer questions about the evaluation process. Applicants are encouraged to offer tours of their project sites for council members as part of the process.
Application forms and program information can also be found on the TMACOG website here. For questions contact, Kurt Erichsen, TMACOG vice president of Environmental Planning and NRAC District 12 Liaison, at 419.241.9155 ext. 126.

The deadline for completed applications is 5 p.m. on March 12, 2014.  Applications should be submitted to TMACOG. All applicants will be notified of NRAC’s recommendation by April 30, 2014.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Annual TMACOG General Assembly

All TMACOG members are invited to attend the annual General Assembly Wednesday, January 29, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg, to elect leadership, participate in caucus sessions, and choose committee assignments. Our keynote speaker, Dan Anderson of The Andersons, will speak about Agri-business and its local, regional, and global impact. See details and agenda after the jump. 

Ohio Long Range Plan – Comments Invited

ODOT has completed a draft of Access Ohio 2040, the state’s new long range transportation plan. Interested people can view the 11 recommendations that will guide ODOT policies and strategies in the coming years and provide comments and suggestions. See the plan and leave comments at www.accessohio2040.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ohio Conference on Freight - Site Selection Information

Christopher Steele was a featured speaker at the 2013 Ohio Conference on Freight, addressing the topic of site selection: how businesses choose where to build or invest and how communities can bring their sites to the attention of business investors. Chris Steele is also the lead author of National Freight Cooperative Research Program (NFCRP) Report 13: Freight Facility Location Selection: A Guide for Public Officials. It is available as a web document that can be downloaded and printed here.  

In comments after his presentation, he talked about when and how communities should offer incentives to businesses investors: 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Specialized Transportation Grants Awarded

The Specialized Transportation Program operated by ODOT has announced its recent round of awards. In the TMACOG region, the Anne Grady Foundation in Lucas County and the Wood County Children’s Services Association received funding. The Anne Grady Foundation will receive funding for a passenger van and Wood County Children’s Services will fund a passenger van and a radio system.

The federal Specialized Transportation Program provides 80 percent of the cost of equipment that serves the transportation needs of the elderly or disabled population. Applicants must be non-profit organizations and must come up with the additional 20 percent funding through local sources. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

MEMBER NEWS - Regional Public Works Association

Guest article by Amy J. Wood, Commissioner of Special Projects, City of Toledo

The American Public Works Association (APWA) has recently established the Northwest Ohio Branch chapter.  The northwest Ohio chapter includes the following counties: Allen, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot.

We would like TMACOG members to consider joining the APWA if they are not already members. The benefits of membership are vast.  Some are listed after the jump:

MEMBER NEWS - Webinar about Water Infrastructure for Small Communities

Helping Small Communities Meet 
Their Water & Wastewater System Needs
Presented by Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group
Tuesday, December 3, noon – 1:30 p.m.

Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group (SCEIG) is a consortium of state and federal agencies, and independent organizations that provide loan/grant funding and technical assistance. Learn about funding options available to local governments for improvements to water and wastewater systems. There will be opportunities to ask questions during the webinar. 

Information on joining the live webinar will be sent to regional communities in a follow-up e-mail.  For more information, contact Joyce Gray, Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) at 440.331.6804 or jrgray@wsos.org.  Ms. Gray can be reached after Monday, November 18. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Student Watershed Watch - Testing the Waters

TMACOG’s Student Watershed Watch annually brings hundreds of junior high school and high school students out of the classroom to experience environmental field work, learn to analyze their data, and to present it to a group of their peers. The goal of the long-running program is to create the next generation of environmental stewards and show young people careers in environmental fields, from university instructor, to EPA disaster clean up team, to snake expert on the Lake Erie islands.

Students collect testing supplies.
 Testing day for students was Thursday, October 17. Testing day is when students collect samples and make measurements. With direction from trained teachers, the students check for water turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. They measure nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen, and measure the amount of bacteria. In the stream, students measure the depth and width of the waterway, speed of the water, and collect benthic macroinvertebrates from the stream bed.  Back in the classroom, all the data is reviewed and analyzed. In many cases, schools have data going back more than a decade that they can use to judge trends.

The Student Summit is November 21 at the University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus. The keynote speaker for the 24th annual summit is Greg Lipps. He studies hellbenders, a type of aquatic salamander historically found in water systems draining to the Ohio River. The species is listed as endangered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Using a seine to collect macroinvertebrates 
living in the river's bed.
Hundreds of students will gather to hear from Mr. Lipps and to hear presentations from participating classes, see tabletop poster displays, and attend workshops. Judges will evaluate the spoken presentations and present awards for most informative, most creative, and best overall. Students evaluate and determine awards for the table top displays.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

New and Improved tmacog.org

The TMACOG website has launched with a new look and new features. The re-design makes it easier for users to find committee information, meeting dates, reports and documents in fewer steps. The new home page is a tidy set of tabs and links that take you quickly to what you are looking for. A calendar on the home page will have meeting agendas and minutes linked. You are invited to review the site map and then spend some time checking out the new and improved site. Let us know what you think at public_info@tmacog.org

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

TMACOG Nominations Invited

TMACOG has grown in influence and in value to its members through strong, committed leaders. It’s that time of year where members consider how they can best serve their communities through their work at TMACOG. Each January, members select new committee assignments and elect TMACOG leadership at the General Assembly. Nominations for councils, committees, board of trustees, and leadership are now being accepted.  Bring your energy, concerns, and challenges to the TMACOG forum and help build a strong and cohesive region.

Clickhere to review a complete list of committees and councils on which you may serve. Anyone may serve on a council or committee and TMACOG needs people with a variety of skills and interests. Self-nominations are due no later than Monday, December 2, 2013. Call and request the nomination form. Voting and assignments will take place at the General Assembly Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at the Perrysburg Holiday Inn French Quarter. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Welcome New Member

TMACOG welcomes CT Consultants as a new non-governmental member. CT Consultants is an engineering, architectural, and planning firm headquartered in Mentor with several offices including Akron, Columbus, North Canton, Youngstown, and Toledo. They work in transportation and environmental planning as well as urban revitalization and site development. Contact the northwest Ohio office at 1690 Woodlands Drive, Suite 200 in Maumee. Phone: 419.897.7922. Kent A. Bryan, P.E, is the regional manager of the firm’s Toledo office. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Gas Cap Testing and Replacement Report

Although people in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are not required to have environmental checks on their cars, hundreds of drivers volunteer every year to have gas caps on their passenger vehicles tested for leaks.

TMACOG and the City of Toledo Division of Environmental Services partner on the summer project which has been ongoing since 2000. The goal of the testing program is to share information and encourage actions that reduce auto emissions that can lead to smog. Testing and replacing leaking gas caps reduces the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere.

Local partners included Krogers, Barney’s, and Circle K gas stations. These partners volunteered the use of their property for a few hours of testing and invited drivers in with signs and posters. There were 22 testing events in Lucas and Wood counties and one in Lambertville, Michigan.

In 2013, 59 of 627 tested gas caps (9.4 percent) were replaced with new gas caps. Better fitting caps prevented approximately 11,741 pounds of pollution from entering the atmosphere. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Clean Ohio Funds - Howard Farms

A new park – which will be the second largest park in the Metroparks of the Toledo Area system – was funded in part by Clean Ohio funds. Howard Farms is about 1,000 acres in Jerusalem Township near the Lake Erie shore, adjacent to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and near Metzger Marsh. Oak Openings Preserve, the largest metropark in the system, is 3,765 acres.

A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 7, 7-9 p.m. at the Jerusalem Township Hall, 9501 Jerusalem Rd, Curtice. Staff of the Metroparks and contractors involved in the restoration and park development will discuss plans for the property. These plans incorporate comments collected at an earlier public meeting.

The Metroparks plan calls for the Howard Farms property to be restored as wetlands, providing habitat to waterbirds and other wildlife. The property was purchased with a combination of funds including the Clean Ohio fund, Ducks Unlimited, and the Metroparks land acquisition fund created through a tax levy. Ducks Unlimited will be working with developer SmithGroupJJR to restore the agricultural land to wetland. For more information on the public meeting, contact Scott Carpenter at the Metroparks: 419-407-9700.  

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Millions Allocated for NW Ohio Transportation Projects

On September 26, ODOT’s Transportation Review and Advisory Council (TRAC) met and approved the “Final 2014-2017 Major New Program List” of projects. The list includes the projects previously approved by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) to be financed with turnpike bonds. The final list of projects approved in the TMACOG planning area includes the following:
  • McCord Road grade separation; $31.6 million estimate, TRAC allocates $3.3 million, FY 2014 start construction
  • I-75 widening from SR 199/SR 25 (Perrysburg) to CR 99 (Findlay); $195.4 million estimate, $193 million TRAC (OTIC bonds), FY 14 start construction
  •  I-75/I-475 Interchange upgrade phase 2 (Jeep Split); $175.9 million estimate, $163 million TRAC ( OTIC bonds), FY 15 start construction
  •  I-75 widening from Phillips to I-280; $51 million estimate, $45 million TRAC (OTIC bonds), FY 15 start construction
  • I-475/US 20 interchange upgrade (Central Ave. interchange); $59 million estimate, $44.0 million TRAC ( OTIC bonds), FY 15 start construction

The total cost of the above projects is $512.9 million with a TRAC funding commitment of $448.3 million programmed for 2014 and 2015 fiscal year construction.  Of the total $970 million available from the sale of OTIC bonds, $422.9 million will be committed to projects in the TMACOG MPO planning area of Lucas and Wood counties.

The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments

Welcome New Member

TMACOG welcomes CT Consultants as a new non-governmental member. CT Consultants is an engineering, architectural, and planning firm headquartered in Mentor with several Ohio offices including Akron, Columbus, North Canton, Youngstown, and Toledo. They work in transportation and environmental planning as well as urban revitalization and site development. Contact the northwest Ohio office at 1690 Woodlands Drive, Suite 200 in Maumee. Phone: 419.897.7922. Kent A. Bryan, P.E, is the regional manager of the firm’s Toledo office. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Upcoming Events - November 2013

Pollution Prevention & Good Housekeeping Workshop
Tuesday, November 19, 8:15 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Lucas County Sanitary Engineer Facility, 1111 S. McCord, Holland.
Contact: Kari Gerwin, 419.241.9155 ext. 103

Student Watershed Watch
Thursday, November 21, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the University of Toledo Scott Park Campus
Contact: Matt Horvat, 419.241.9155 ext. 123

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: Presented by Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group
Tuesday, December 3, noon-1:30 p.m.
Contact: Joyce Gray, Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), 440.331.6804

TMACOG Leadership Retreat
Wednesday, December 18, 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155, ext. 179

TMACOG General Assembly
January 29, 2014 at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg

Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155, ext. 179

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments | www.tmacog.org

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Upcoming TMACOG Events

Passenger Rail Forum
Monday, October 7, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Toledo Club, 235 14th St.
Contact: Diane Reamer-Evans, 419.241.9155 ext. 117

TMACOG Tech: Collaboration and Shared Services
Wednesday, October 16, 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza
Contact: Peggy Ricard, 419.241.9155 ext. 105

Environmental Law Enforcement Workshop
Wednesday and Thursday, October 30 and 31 at the office of Northwestern Water and Sewer District: 12560 Middleton Pike in Bowling Green
Contact: Susie Harpham, 614.325.9710

New Transportation Staff

The TMACOG Transportation department is pleased to welcome Lance Dasher who was hired in August as a transportation planner. Dasher previously spent two summers at TMACOG as an intern working in traffic counting. In his new full-time position, he will be working with senior staff on the Transportation Improvement Program, on bike and pedestrian issues, and with rail and transit programs. Dasher is working on his master’s degree in geography and planning at the University of Toledo. He has a bachelor’s in the same field from UT. He chose his field because, he says, “The work is about helping a community better itself, taking practical steps to improve the future. That’s what I want to do.”

Member Highlight: Toledo Trucking Association

It’s been a busy time recently for members of the Toledo Trucking Association. They participated in the 2013 Ohio Conference on Freight in September, and September was Truck Safety Month with local members organizing outreach activities. Even without special events, things are always moving in the trucking industry. President of Toledo Trucking Association David Black said that increases in the amount of freight and changes in regulations mean that truckers are always working at full speed.

David Black described the regional trucking business as solid but in flux.

“The trucking industry in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan is robust. There are many small- to medium-sized companies with niche markets.”

There are firms that specialize in delivering food, and others that move only auto parts. He said that there is plenty of freight to be moved but lots of challenges to the industry, from cost of equipment, to training of personnel, to regulations.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Congestion Management Process

In metropolitan areas of 200,000 or more, planning agencies are required to measure and evaluate traffic congestion. (The population of the TMACOG transportation management area which the Census Bureau defines as the Toledo Urbanized Area is 507,643.) TMACOG completed a Congestion Management Process report in August and it will be submitted to ODOT and the Federal Highway Transportation Administration for review and approval.

Congestion is studied to identify over-crowded locations, determine the causes of congestion, and develop strategies to mitigate it. Strategies are then studied to determine their effectiveness. Congestion on area roadways is rated from A to F with A being the least congested and F being areas where traffic is heavy and where accidents may happen more often.

Locations recommended for further study are; Sylvania Ave. at Talmadge Rd., the Maumee-Perrysburg bridge, Monroe St. between Harvest Ln. and Cheltenham Rd., the Anthony Wayne Bridge (the high-level bridge), Erie St. at Monroe St., the Anthony Wayne Trail between Western Ave. and Erie St., and the I-475 off-ramp at Talmadge Rd.

For some of these locations construction has already been planned to alleviate congestion. The 81-year-old Anthony Wayne Bridge will be closed for a complete renovation for up to two years with closure tentatively scheduled to begin in late winter-early spring 2014. The I-475 off-ramp at Talmadge is being lengthened to accommodate exiting vehicles.

There are many tools other than construction that can be employed to reduce congestion: increased use of public transportation, improved signage and signaling, access management (limits on curb cuts and driveways), and freeway incident management programs are some strategies. Keeping roads in good repair also keeps traffic moving smoothly and safely.

Federal regulations require that the congestion management plan include performance measures. For the TMACOG region the measurables are:
• Reduce cost of freeway-related delays in the urban planning area by 30 percent by 2020.
• Increase freeway lane miles in the urban planning area by 5 percent by 2020.
• Develop a regional bottleneck reduction program in the urban planning area by 2016.
• Implement signal progression on Woodville Rd. and Central Ave. corridors by 2020.

Celebrating Ottawa River Restoration

A project to restore habit in the Ottawa River where it runs through the main campus of the University of Toledo was celebrated September 20 by university officials and representatives of the funding agencies. The summer project added features to reduce turbulence, reduce erosion, and create habitat for fish and other wildlife. The strategies employed included placing bendweir stones, simulating undercut bank habitat, and placing locked logs. Excessive invasive plant growth was removed and native plants were introduced. Native plants include burr oak, sycamore, willows, and tulip poplar. Shrubs include buttonwood, fragrant sumac, dogwood, and witch hazel among others. The restoration project is part of a campus master plan for improving the river. Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT Department of Geography and Planning, find the grants and directs the many efforts to incrementally improve the river. His work and the work of many others who work on other stretches of the Ottawa River have resulted in marked improvement in water quality and fish life.
Cutting the ribbon at an access point to the river are (l. to r.) Jo Ann Banda, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Matt Horvat, Maumee River Coordinator; and Cherie Blair, Ohio EPA.

Green Infrastructure Workshop

Urban planners, designers, developers, and elected and appointed officials are invited to attend a green infrastructure workshop Friday, October 25, 8:30 a.m.-noon at the University of Toledo, Nitschke Hall, Engineering Connector Room. A series of workshops will look at case studies of green and LEED certified developments. “Green” infrastructure describes strategies that manage stormwater with natural processes close to where the water falls. When rain falls on hard surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and roofs, it picks up grease, fertilizers, bacteria, and other waste. The rainwater carries these pollutants to rivers and streams. Green infrastructure can include rain gardens, vegetated areas along roads and sidewalks, or can be incorporated into a building’s design in the form of rooftop greenery. These attractive and innovative practices are increasingly being used both in place of and in combination with traditional stormwater systems of curbs, gutters, and pipes. The half-day seminar is hosted by the Rain Garden Initiative and the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission. The fee is $10. For more information contact Cheryl Rice, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 419.893.1966 ext. 3.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Passenger Rail Forum

Business people, elected officials, and economic development professionals are invited to hear how investing in passenger rail can rebuild communities. The 2013 Passenger Rail Forum is Monday, October 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Toledo Club in downtown Toledo.

The forum is an annual meeting where transportation advocates share news about development of passenger rail service in Ohio and neighboring states. It is presented by TMACOG and the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA). The featured speaker is John Robert Smith. Smith is the co-chair of Transportation for America and senior policy advisor for Smart Growth America. His presentation for the forum is titled, “Revitalizing Communities: The Power of Station Renovation.”

 John Robert Smith was an early practitioner of transit-oriented development. When he served as mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, he successfully renovated the city’s historic train station, a project that helped revitalize Meridian’s downtown. That experience made Smith a passionate advocate for the power of station renovation projects to link transportation and community revitalization. He speaks widely, making the case for strategies and policies that support multi-modal transportation and affordable housing to develop our nation’s communities.

Registration is required. Log on to PassengerRailForum.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $28 for NOPRA members, $33 for non-members, and $20 for students. For more information, contact NOPRA at NWOhioPassengerRail@gmail.com, or Diane Reamer-Evans at TMACOG at 419.241.9155 ext. 117. 

Good Government Award for TMACOG

Only about six percent of entities subject to annual state of Ohio audits are recognized for excellence in financial reporting. For the third consecutive year, TMACOG has been recognized with the Auditor of State Award for a clean audit: one that contains no findings for recovery, no material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, or any questioned costs.

The citation notes that clean and accurate record-keeping is the foundation for good government, and demonstrates a commitment to accountability. Congratulations to Bill Best, The finance team on the TMACOG staff, and the Finance, Audit and Administration Committee.

Donovan O’Neill, the Northwest Ohio Regional Liaison for the Office of Auditor of State, presented the award to Bill Best, TMACOG Vice President of Finance and Administration, at the September 18 Executive Committee meeting.