The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has produced its first asset management plan, which identified the need for $112 million per year in additional funding just to improve all paved roads to the agency’s desired condition for the roads.
The asset management plan is a document that identifies all the assets owned by the agency, including roads, bridges, traffic signals, culverts, etc., identifies the condition of each and spells out the agency’s plans for best maintaining the assets based on available funding.
The state Legislature, several years ago, mandated that all local road agencies in the state regularly produce asset management plans. The mandate was a response to road agencies urging the Legislature to increase road funding, and was intended, in part, to answer the question of whether or not current road funding is adequate to address road needs.
“This report is an amazing tool for our agency,” explained RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “It provides a very clear picture of our assets – mainly our roads and bridges – and their current conditions as well projecting their likely future condition given available funding. We did what the Legislature asked, and it clearly showed that additional revenue is needed, which is consistent with studies and reports produced under previous administrations. Now, it is time for the Legislature to step up and adequately fund local roads for the long term.”
One outcome of the asset management process is to identify the desired condition of all the assets and the amount of money needed to achieve that level of maintenance. The plan also identifies all current available funding and then calculates the gap between what is currently available and what would be needed to achieve the desired condition for all assets.
The $112 million in additional funding needed each year just to maintain RCOC’s paved roads includes only maintaining and improving the paved surfaces of the roads. It does not include widening or other improvements to the roads to address congestion. Currently RCOC receives approximately $115 million in state road funding.
The report provides a detailed breakdown of the condition of RCOC’s paved main roads and secondary roads as well as its gravel main and secondary roads. It notes that in 2022, 46 percent of RCOC’s paved primary (main) roads are in good condition, which is up from about 9 percent in 2016.
Kolar attributes this improvement to the 2015 state road-funding package that generated the first increase in state road funding since 1997 (and which began generating additional funding in 2017). However, he warned that beginning in 2025, RCOC expects the condition of the roads to again begin to deteriorate as the “buying power” of the 2015 road-funding package is eaten up by inflation.
“Essentially, this report explains how we are prioritizing the work on our road system to maximize the benefit of woefully insufficient funding,” Kolar noted.
The RCOC Transportation Asset Management Plan will now be published every three years. The 2021 report is available on the RCOC website, www.rcocweb.org: Click on the “About Us” tab at the top of the homepage, select “Publications” from the drop-down menu and then select “RCOC Asset Management Plan” under the “Asset Management Plan” heading. The direct link to the document is: https://www.rcocweb.org/DocumentCenter/View/10271/RCOC-Transportation-Asset-Management-Plan---BOARD-Approved-9-23-21?bidId=.