The MITA State Transportation Funding Initiative is now up and running at full speed. The initiative, that has been named the Drive MI Campaign, is a three-prong effort, which will ultimately push for a comprehensive increase in Michigan’s overall transportation investment strategy. The three components to this initiative include:
Fundraising Drive – The goal of the campaign is to raise $2 million, which will be deposited in a dedicated bank account and will be spent specifically on this initiative only.
Public Awareness – During this phase of the campaign, contributions will be used to educate the media, the legislature and the general public as to the needs that exist with our transportation system. Various professional consultants will be used to create numerous informational brochures, billboards and radio drive-time ads as well as a website that will be used to inform our targeted audience.
Legislative Initiative – This phase of the initiative will use the coalition of the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) to lobby the Michigan legislature for a comprehensive long-term fix that will fully fund Michigan’s transportation system. This effort will begin after the November 2006 election. The ultimate goal is to put together a legislative package that includes ideas such as: user fee increases, registration fee increases, toll road concepts and an allowance for local initiatives in a creative and well thought out package, which the legislature can then debate and hopefully pass into law.
The following is an update as to the progress of this initiative to date:
Fundraising continues within the MITA membership as well as with external groups throughout the state. To date over $1.7 million of our $2 million goal has been committed, and over $850,000 has been received and is in the bank. The leadership coalition continues to request contributions, not only from the MITA membership, but also from other interested parties.
Thank you to those companies who have already committed to this effort. To those of you who have not yet stepped up to help with this important endeavor and to make an investment in your company’s future, please feel free to contact the MITA office to make your contribution.
Michigan Transportation Team (MTT)
The MTT is made up of a variety of interest groups that include numerous associations from throughout the construction industry, business related organizations (Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Retailers Association, Michigan Manufacturers Association), local government groups (County Road Association of Michigan, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Townships Association) and organized labor (Operating Engineers, Laborers, Carpenters).
MITA staff continues to travel around the state making presentations to a variety of groups in order to promote this initiative. Recent efforts have included full-scale presentations to at least one external group per week for the past several months.
Drive MI Campaign
The campaign itself has kicked off and the money that has been raised is being used to hire well-placed consultants to assist in the ultimate successful outcome of the initiative.
The Rossman Group has been hired to handle all statewide public relations including earned media such as print media, editorial boards and radio talk shows throughout the state. Several recent media hits supporting the concept of an investment increase have already been developed.
MITA has also hired a group by the name of Triad from Columbus, Ohio. This firm focuses solely on transportation initiatives throughout the nation. They have worked in several other states that have seen recent success with regard to transportation funding increases. Triad will be conducting numerous studies within the state and then using that information to create useful reports and brochures pertaining to traffic safety, congestion, system deterioration and the economics of Michigan’s user fee in the promotion of increased transportation investment.
MITA will continue to use services of the multi-client firm Public Affairs Associates (PAA) as discussions continue regarding the needs of Michigan’s transportation system with those elected officials in Lansing. These efforts are ongoing as MITA and PAA continue to meet with leadership from the House and Senate as well as the Governor’s Office to discuss this initiative and possible future solutions.
We will continue to keep you updated as this Drive MI Campaign progresses. If you have any questions regarding this effort or any other legislative initiatives, please contact Mike Nystrom at 517-347-8336 or via e-mail email@example.com.