Rural Program

The Rural Task Force (RTF) Program is a Michigan state-wide initiative that provides federal dollars in the form of grants to rural counties with a population under 400,000 (78 out of 83 counties). Today, there are 22 rural task forces that cover the entire geographic area of Michigan. RTF 4 includes Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.

All project selection is through RTF 4, which is comprised of equal representation from the county road commissions, the cities and villages under 5,000 population within the counties, and the rural transit providers.

RTF logo

Participants in the transportation planning process for RTF 4 include:

  • Berrien County: Berrien County Road Department; Village of Baroda; Village of Three Oaks; Berrien Bus
  • Cass County: Cass County Road Commission; Village of Marcellus; Village of Cassopolis; Cass County Public Transit
  • Van Buren County: Van Buren Road Commission; Village of Decatur; City of Bangor; City of Gobles; Village of Breedsville; Village of Bloomingdale; Van Buren Public Transit

SWMPC is charged with creating a forum for facilitating rural consultation with local elected/appointed officials, county engineers, transit providers, stakeholders, and other decision-makers in developing and implementing the planning process, to ensure the maximum benefit from the RTF Program.

Rural transportation projects and programs wishing to utilize federal and/or state funding must be selected through this planning process. This ensures that MDOT’s transportation planning and project decisions reflect the needs of Michigan’s rural areas and contributes to regional economic growth and quality of life. The RTF Program dollars must be spent in their geographic areas and both road and transit capital projects are eligible.

MDOT provides two main sources of funding for the Local Rural Transportation Program:

  • Surface Transportation Program/Rural (STL) is a federal program which is used to preserve and improve the conditions and performance of federal aid highways and transit capital projects, including terminals and facilities.
  • Transportation Economic Development Fund Category D (EDD) is a state program whose funds are designed to serve development and commerce by establishing and integrating a local secondary all season road network with the state trunkline system. All eligible projects must be located outside census-designated urbanized boundaries.

The full Statewide Guidelines and Operating Procedures for Rural Funding and Planning Coordination can be found on the State of Michigan website.

Approved 2023-2026 Project

Rural Task Force Meeting Information