The Grand Vision
Transportation Network Growth & Investment Areas Network Housing Network Food & Farming Network Energy Network Natural Resources Network

MDOT is committed to Grand Vision - June 30

• 30 Jun 2011
• Traverse City Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI)

MDOT is committed to Grand Vision

“Welcome to the Grand Vision – a community vision for the future of transportation, land use, economic development and environmental stewardship in our region.”

The Grand Vision document’s opening line sets the stage for the extensive public involvement process necessary for such an enormous task. This document provides a “big picture” guide for coordinating efforts to help the residents of the Grand Vision’s six-county area build the future they desire.

The federal funds used for the Grand Vision study were funds remaining in a congressional earmark dating back to 1991.

The original purpose of the funds was to conduct a corridor-level study of a Traverse City bypass.
The remaining funds sat unused until local leaders approached federal legislators to repurpose the funds for a comprehensive study that eventually became the Grand Vision.

From the beginning, your local leaders were determined to utilize any funds remaining after the study was completed to help implement the study findings. This remains true today.

The Grand Vision study was completed within budget, but it took more time than anticipated, due, in part, to the complexity of the issues surrounding transportation and land use in the Grand Vision area. No one could have guessed how much community interest (a commendable 15,000 respondents completed the survey) and emotion surrounded the issues.

The Traverse City Area Transportation and Land Use Study (TC-TALUS) made preparations to utilize the $1.933 million dollars remaining to help fund transportation projects that help implement the Grand Vision.

The TC-TALUS Board approved the City of Traverse City’s Silver Drive project and had four additional applications in hand to consider for funding. However, the passage of H.R. 1473 meant that the implementation funds would be sent back to the U.S. Treasury unless they were immediately obligated to a project and spent within a small window of time.

Because the obligation process takes time, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) — after consulting with local units of government in the area — determined that there were no local projects at the obligation stage.

In a show of support, MDOT took last-minute action to keep these funds in the Grand Vision area by obligating them to a “shovel ready” project in the Village of Buckley that supported the Grand Vision principles.

This action meant that the funds intended to help implement the original priority projects of the Grand Vision were no longer available.

While this is unfortunate, I’d like to assure the community that the loss of funds was not a reflection on the actions of either TC-TALUS or MDOT. Both agencies were forced to react to the passage of H.R. 1473.

We’re working together to restore as much of the funding as possible in the coming weeks. By doing so, we hope to assure the Grand Vision region that MDOT remains committed to helping implement the Grand Vision principles in our projects today, and in the future. MDOT remains committed to the community’s vision for the transportation future of this region.


About the author: Kirk Steudle was appointed director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) by Gov. Rick Snyder on Jan. 1, 2011. He also served as state transportation director from 2006 to 2010.

About the Forum: The Forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record Eagle readers in their areas of interest or expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by e-mailing Please include biographical information and a photo.

Be a Grand Vision iReporter


Subscribe to the Grand Vision Newsletter!


Upcoming Events

Antrim Benzie Grand Traverse Kalkaska Leelanau Wexford