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E-M:/ Bus Money and I-375

AN excellent FREEP editorial about how Michigan gets shortchanged on bus funding.  http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/ebus26_20001126.htm

 Michigan does not get its fair share of public transportation funding because:
1.      We have no local political champions of public transit. Neither Mayor Archer, Governor Engler or any of the southeast Michigan County Executives have stepped up to the plate on this. Around the country, regions get state of the art transit when their elected officials step forward and demand it. Ours haven’t and don’t care about those of us who either must or would choose to use transit, if it were upgraded..
2.      We have no regional transit plan. We continue to allow Lansing to require a SMART- DDOT merger as a precondition to do regional transportation plan. Engler has found a way to say NO to transit by insisting on a bogus condition he knows politically can not be met. SEMCOG’s Transit Vision, on its current timetable, will be done too late to catch the next six year federal funding cycle. SEMCOG has found a way to say NO to transit while seeming to say yes..
3.      There is no regional dedicated stable source of revenue to pay the local share of capital costs and all of the operating costs for new systems. Current levels are not enough for existing DDOT and SMART service. There are current legislative and Constitutional barriers to securing transit funding, but with political champions (see # 1) we can change the law.

These three interlocking reasons help to explain MDOT’s arrogance in proposing a $100 million, pavement-only “access” for Detroit’s East Riverfront. MDOT has ignored transit because official indifference allows it to. MDOT’s plans to extend  the I-375 expressway south of Jefferson to within one block of the river. This will destroy any future for commuter rail between North Oakland County and downtown Detroit. MDOT’s suburban-style horseshoe-curve design cuts off pedestrians and local streets, frustrates transit, and degrades the Tricentenial Riverfront Park and GM’s new mixed use and residential development.   MDOT’s notion of “access”, leads to this criminally stupid excess. 

You have the chance to “just say no” to this absurdity. MDOT’s “public hearings” on the I-375 boondoggle are Wednesday, November 29, 2000 at Christ Church, 960 E. Jefferson, southeast corner of Jefferson and I-375; enter off Woodbridge street, one block south.  Sessions are from 3:30 pm to 5 pm. and 7 to 8:30 pm. This project will shape the future of our riverfront and downtown for generations. These decisions are too important to compromise with third-rate, overbuilt solutions. Smarter, better, faster and cheaper alternatives are available: $100million is enough money to do an appropriate urban scale upgrade of the I-375 and Jefferson interchange, build new access roads for GM and implement commuter rail from Pontiac to Detroit. Silence on your part is a vote for the wasting of tax dollars, our cityscape and our urban environment.  If you can’t come, send comments by Dec. 11 to Jose Lopez MDOT Public Hearings Officer, P.O Box 30050, Lansing MI, 48909, email: lopezjos@mdot.state,mi.us,  or fax 517.373.9255.

Bus Money

Misplaced federal priorities shortchange Michigan transit systems

November 26, 2000
Michigan has long hollered about its donor status with federal road money; the state pays more in federal gas taxes than it gets in federal aid.

But if you really want to talk about highway robbery, check out the state's return on federal transit aid. This year, Michigan will get $19.5 million of the nation's $2.6 billion in federal discretionary capital dollars. The eighth largest state gets less than 1 percent of the federal dollars that go to building and maintaining rail systems and buying new buses, shelters and terminals . . . . .

also SMART wisely plans to replace its aging vehiclec ahead of schedule

Karen D. Kendrick-Hands
Air Policy Director,
East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Co-founder, Transportation Riders United
1067 Devonshire Road
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
313.885.7588, fax 313.885.7883
Check out TRU's web page at http://www.marp.org/tru.htm
Try the Motranzit site, too - http://www.hometown.aol.com/motranzit
Also check out http://members.aol.com/wingsrgr8/DPM/ &
If you don't ask the right questions, you will never get to the right answers . . .