Meetings set to review TMACOG’s new ideasWritten by Jacob Ruhe | | email@example.com
The last time the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments released a long-term transportation plan, it called for a new Maumee River crossing. That 1988 plan helped lead to construction of the nearly complete Veterans’ Glass City Skyway, the largest, most expensive single project undertaken in the history of the Ohio Department of Transportation.
TMACOG will soon host the first of six meetings during which the public can review and comment on a draft of its newest long-term transportation plan, “On the Move: 2007-2035 Transportation Plan.” TMACOG is a non-partisan regional planning partnership whose members include governmental and non-governmental organizations in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
The public will have its first opportunity to discuss the latest draft at the Main Toledo-Lucas County Library at noon March 2. TMACOG President Anthony Reams will give an introduction at the meeting. Members of the On the Move task force and Vice President of Transportation Dave Dysard will also be available at the meeting.
The five other meetings will take place at the Sanger Branch Library in Toledo at 7 p.m. March 5; Bedford Township Hall in Temperance, Mich., at 6 p.m. March 6; Wood County Public Library in Bowling Green on at 7:30 p.m. March 6; Northwood’s Municipal Building at 7 p.m. March 7; and Maumee Branch Library at 7 p.m. March 12. Doors will open 30 minutes before the listed meeting times to allow people to review displays on the draft.
TMACOG has posted the full draft list of projects and regional initiatives on its Web site, www.tmacog.org. Draft plans and comment sheets will also be available at public libraries in Lucas County, Wood County and the southern-most townships in Monroe County, Mich., through the middle of March.
Diane Reamer-Evans, transportation project manager for TMACOG, said the task force that contributed to the long-term transportation plan draft includes over 40 people representing both public and private sectors. Prior to developing the draft, TMACOG organixed more than a dozen public meetings where the public could discuss its concerns and the region’s needs. It also sent mailings to local governments and major institutions such as colleges and hospitals to get their input. Technical analysis of where the region’s population and employment are now and where they will be in the future was also provided to the task force.
Among the 82 projects listed in the draft on TMACOG’s Web site is a major proposal to widen I-75 to six lanes in several segments and add and reconstruct several interchanges along its route.
The draft also proposes the construction of a Trans-Pacific Inland Port, a rail and truck freight terminal.
Reamer-Evans said much of the freight that moves from the West Coast to the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard has historically gone through Chicago, which struggles to handle the freight moving east across the country, creating a bottleneck and slowing its transportation.
By developing a rail and truck terminal to work in conjunction with the major freight facilities, Toledo already has the On the Move task force hopes to position the region as a major mover of freight traveling west to east across the United States.
“The new facility would be a rail and truck center to capture the major freight flow beginning from Asia,” Reamer-Evans said.
Money for the projects the draft proposes would primarily come from the federal government, though the draft considers state and local tax resources as well.
On April 4, the TMACOG Transportation Council will hold a final public meeting and then vote on approving the plan. Federal approval will then be sought so portions of the plan can be enacted July 1.