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Top administrators, planners and engineers of the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will soon begin the process of meeting with officials of virtually every city, village and township in Oakland County as part of RCOC’s biennial Strategic Planning process.
RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar noted that since 1985, RCOC officials have met every two years with the communities to ensure the community officials play an active role in setting the Road Commission strategy for coming years.
“This is a very time-consuming activity,” explained RCOC Chairman Eric Wilson. “But it is one of the best investments of our time that we can make. Nothing else truly gives us such a clear understanding of what the important issues and priorities are for the communities.”
“To our knowledge, we are the only road commission in Michigan that goes to this length to ensure our communities have input in our planning process. It’s part of our philosophy of open communication with our customers,” Wilson added.
Managing Director Kolar explained that the process allows RCOC regularly to take the pulse of the communities on large issues as well as ensure community officials have an avenue to discuss road needs and provide feedback on day-to-day road-maintenance issues. “Through these meetings, we keep abreast of what is happening in the communities. We learn about new developments, redevelopment efforts and related traffic and road needs,” Kolar noted. “It helps promote a better understanding of the issues we all face.”
In addition to identifying current and future road needs and maintenance issues, during the process RCOC asks the local officials to prioritize the needs on county roads within their communities. This information is then used to help prioritize RCOC projects in coming years.
“Since 1985, we have addressed many of the high-priority needs identified during the Strategic Planning meetings. We have also adjusted our road maintenance activities based on community concerns,” Kolar said.
He pointed out that after the last round of Strategic Planning meetings in 2015, RCOC calculated the cost of addressing the current and projected needs identified by the communities on county roads alone. The total came to more than $2 billion worth of road needs expected between 2015 and 2025. Kolar expects this figure to have increased since then.
Also, at the meetings, the RCOC administrators share with local officials important developments at the Road Commission, such as new technology initiatives, and convey financial news. They will also discuss developments at the state level that will impact Oakland County communities, such as the recent increase in state road funding and the change to state law that allows Oakland County communities to request speed limit reductions on gravel roads.
The Strategic Planning meetings will take place through the spring. Once they are completed, RCOC will compile a report summarizing the information gathered at the meetings.