I-69/I-75 Intermodal Transportation Study
To conduct a comprehensive Intermodal Transportation Study along the corridors of I-69/I-75 to further improve commercial and passenger transportation efficiencies in the region.
Since NAFTA the enactment of trade between the United States and Canada has been on the rise. The Genesee County area has seen major increases in the amount of commuter and commercial traffic that comes to and crosses through the area. With the development pressures in southeast Michigan, daily commuter traffic is increasing at a steady pace. Increased use of “just-in-time” delivery by area businesses has also compounded commercial traffic in the area. These increases affect not only our highway use and highway capacity but our rail and air capacity as well. For businesses, the economic effect of timely transportation has never been greater. Delays in the transport of cargo can translate to an increased cost both for the supplier and customer. Improvements to the intermodal transportation system can increase its efficiency and provide cost savings to area businesses.
The Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission (GCMPC) has partnered with the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce to propose an Intermodal Transportation Study. This study will evaluate the deficiencies and improvements of highway, air and rail corridors necessary to facilitate the transport of commercial goods and passenger traffic along I-69/I-75, and US-23 from the Blue Water Bridge to the I-69/M-52 interchange.
Although the study will focus on the I-69/I-75/US-23 as a crossroads, the scope of the study will extend to and include Sarnia, Canada to the east, Saginaw County to the north, and Shiawassee County to the west. The need to develop and understand the needs of all the stakeholders is a major effort that will need to be undertaken. In addition to the MPOs through this region, there are several other government entities which will need to be included. The regional scope of the study, and a comprehensive analysis of the needs and deficiencies, is crucial in effecting efficient movement of goods and people. Bringing all of the stakeholders together will allow for consensus building and long term strategies to improve efficiencies in commercial transportation.
Just as the geographic area studied will need to be broad, so to will the modes of travel. In addition to highway travel; rail and air operations, will also need to be examined. Each of these modes has a unique role in moving commerce to or through the region. Genesee County MPO has not previously had the opportunity to evaluate the regional needs of each travel mode. In order to develop a comprehensive plan, the stakeholders from each mode must be part of the planning process from the start. This will further the consensus building going on between governmental units, and will affect the long term strategies proposed.
I-69 will be the geographic focus of the study. I-69’s link to Canada at the Bluewater Bridge is our strongest highway link to international trade. The interchange of I-75 and US-23 in Flint is a unique opportunity to disperse traffic to the north, south, and the west. I-475 also provides an alternate route to the north and south during times of high congestion. The study will attempt to assess the commercial truck volume and destinations throughout the region. Improvements to the infrastructure as well as any Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) options will need to be evaluated using the highway data collected.
Currently, there are three railroad companies, CN, CSX, and Central Michigan, operating freight routes through Genesee County. They serve the automotive industry primarily and are the focus of rail/highway transfer operations. With the double decker tunnel at Sarnia these routes are a natural for the increased freight traffic into the United States. Amtrak also provides passenger services from Toronto, Ontario through Genesee County to Chicago, Illinois. The study will need to determine the linkages that need to be made in order to allow the railroads to realize their freight potential.
Air traffic has increased in the region over the past several years. Flint’s Bishop International Airport and MBS Airport in Saginaw are two airports with high potential for growth, both in passengers and freight volume. The freight opportunities for these medium sized airports will increase within an efficient transportation system. The study will need to determine the linkages that need to be made in order to allow the airports to realize their freight potential.
With the unique opportunity for transferring cargo from one mode to another and from one direction to another in this region, an intermodal study of the I-69/I-75/US-23 border and corridors is needed to identify not only the strengths of the area, but also the deficiencies, and possible improvements. Additionally, the opportunity to develop a study review committee that identifies other deficiencies to the transportation of goods i.e., customs, freight regulations etc., is crucial to comprehensively address needed improvements. The data collected and any suggested improvements for transport of goods will complement passenger traffic as well.
An Intermodal Facility and or Distribution Centers, ITS improvements along the corridor and at the border, as well as specific infrastructure improvements are all potential opportunities to assist in developing transportation efficiencies in the region. The study of the current situation, a needs analysis and long term projections for freight and passenger travel will allow the region to pull together a long-term investment strategy that will be an economic gain to the community for years to come.
$250,000.00 SPR State,
$100,000.00 Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission funds.
Region’s location and vital transportation infrastructure
Preliminary List of Potential Projects to include: distribution centers, rail, rail crossing, port, airport, road and interchange improvements.
Regional Perspective – Everybody Wins!
Started January 2001
Finished December 2001
$140,952.00 Transportation & Community & Systems Preservation Program– Federal
Development of Location and Site Evaluation Criteria
Started September 2001
Finished September 2002
$1.3 million of FY 2001 State CTF funds
Design and Implementation of Quick Start and Major Investment Projects
Submission of a $4 million Regional Notice of Intent to Federal Highways for the Borders/Corridors Program
Financial Recognition of the Corridor’s Importance in the TEA-21 Re-authorization
Secure Additional Funding through Public and Private Partnerships
Start September 2002
1st Projects for the 5 County Study Area under construction April 2003
Roles and Responsibilities
The Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission (GCMPC) will act as fiduciary and lead in a technical issues role. GCMPC will also ensure that the study follows the MPO processes. It is the intent of GCMPC to contract out all phases of this intermodal study with a consultant. GCMPC will develop and review the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposal (RFP). GCMPC will review all work done by the selected consultant and address questions and concerns to a project advisory team.
The Flint Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with GCMPC, will establish an Intermodal Study Review Committee. The Intermodal Study Review Committee will be made up of all of the stakeholders, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) as well as any other groups who have an interest. There will be a steering committee that will meet on a regular basis as well as public information meetings to keep everyone informed of the studies progress. The input and feedback from the committees and public meetings will be an integral part of the study.
As has always been the practice MDOT will be a key player in any transportation decisions that are going to be made in the state. MDOT will be relied on for their expertise in studies of this magnitude. MDOT will also be relied on for data that may already have been collected through other efforts.
The consultant will collect all of the data and prepare all reports to the committees as well as the final documents. The consultant will be prepared to discuss their progress at quarterly meetings of the stakeholders as well as more informal progress reports with GCMPC staff and the various committees set up for the study.