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E-M:/ Fwd: Time to contact your legislators. Voices needed to fight anti-transit bills

Begin forwarded message:

From: "TRU" <trumember@detroittransit.org>
Date: June 28, 2004 10:31:23 AM EDT
To: <mailinglist@detroittransit.org>
Subject: FW:Time to contact your legislators. Voices needed to fight anti-transit bills

TRU has been slow to pick up on this story because it seems like such dumb policy for the State legislature to take on, but frequently, politicians try to do dumb things.
It is time to let your state legislators and the Governor know that the future vitality of Michigan is based on strong, vibrant established urban communities. Government action on transportation is a key tool available to strengthen our existing communities. A shift in priority to spend more to develop quality transit and less on expanding roads that serve urban fringe areas is needed to strengthen the vitality and economic base in Michigan. Details are below.

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Lawrence M. Hands
313 963 8872
check out Transportation Riders United web page:www.detroittransit.org   
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-----Original Message-----
From:owner-smartroads@www.mienv.org [mailto:owner-smartroads@www.mienv.org]On Behalf OfCharlene Crowell
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 9:46 AM
Subject: Have you written your legislators yet? More voices needed to fight anti-transit bills

Dear Friends,

Please help. As we've shared with you during the last few months, and wish to emphasize and clarify today, we are facing a potential emergencywith state funding of public transit. Bills are introduced, and one is advancing, that would gut local bus service in Michigan's communities and could eliminate service entirely.

In addition, the Coalition's hard-fought success in helping bring about a Fix It First road repair program in Michigan is under direct assault and could be overturned.

With the transit and road bills, the many layers of detail are below, for those who wish to take a close look.

We are asking you to immediately e-mail or call your state senator and state representative, as well as the governor's office, to oppose all of these bills. We need your voices to be heard right now. Please speak up to preserve the transit funding we've all fought for years to increase and to sustain MDOT's Fix It First approach to road repair.

And, as always, please contact Charlene <charlene@mlui.org>,(517) 367-7415 or me <Kelly@mlui.org>,231-882-4723 ext. 13 with thoughts or questions.

Thank you,
Kelly Thayer - MLUI

Contact your representative:

Contact your senator:

Contact the governor:

SB 1163- Transit couldget $0 each year from gas tax, registration fees.
Currently, the state Comprehensive Transportation Fund (the primary source of bus and rail funding) by law  receives 10 percent of the Michigan Transportation Fund, after some off-the-top deductions. Funded mainly by gas tax and registration fees, the CTF is receiving $178.8 million in FY 2003-04 from these sources. This bill would amend the law to provide "up to" 10 percent, allowing the legislature to give transit nothing in any given year. The Michigan Land Use Leadership Council recommended that transit get the full 10 percent. Any reduction to transit would result in a direct increase to state and local road funding.
Status:Sent to full senate on June 22.

SB 1103 - Transit wouldget $0 from the auto-related sales tax.
Currently the Comprehensive Transportation Fund also is receiving $67.8 million in FY 2003-04from a share of the sales tax on gasoline and auto-related parts. This bill would permanently take these funds from transit and send them to the general fund. The Michigan Land Use Leadership Council recommended that transit the maximum possible from this source, 25% of a complicated calculation, or about $200 million a year.
Status:Introduced March 18 in Senate Appropriations.

SB 1081- Would harm ride-sharing programs.
Would eliminate state requirements to support ride-sharing programs unless there are no private entities to provide assistance to local governments. This legislative drift is to shift public dollars to private -- probably for-profit - entities.
Status:Sent to full Senate June 22.

SB 267 - Would gut MDOT's transit staffing.
(FY 2003-04 Supplemental - Section 802)
This section of the bill would prohibit MDOT from using any fund sources to support UPTRAN (the transit division) operations. Could result n the reassigning of 60 of the 80 UPTRAN staff to other sections of MDOT.
Status:Passed the House in March and the Senate in May, in different forms. Difficult to know exact status from Internet, but appears headed for conference committee.

HB 5528- Would freeze DDOT/SMART funding again.
(from PA 162 of 2003 -  FY 2004 MDOT budget Section 727)
Limits bus operating funds to DDOT/SMART to FY03 funding level. This punitive language is retained in this year's FY 2004-05 MDOT budget bill - HB 5528.
Status:Passed House in March. On Senate side, cannot know exact status of this language from Internet. Must track in person because crafting budgets is a highly fluid process.


SB 1147& HB 5762(tie-barred)- Legislature would approve/disapprove each and every road project.
Bills would mandate legislative oversight for MDOT's five-year plan effective with the plan beginning in 2005. More specifically, a majority in each chamber -- in the House ANDthe Senate, would have to approve the plans that would have already been approved by the State Transportation Commission. The explicit intent seems to be to overturn 17 current, and any potential, road project deferrals set by Granholm administration and MDOT. MDOT says these bills could jeopardize receipt of up to $1 billion in federal funds. The Michigan Land Use Leadership Council encouraged state and local jurisdictions to adopt minimum standards for the level of spending on road repair and for the condition of the highway/road/street network.
Status: Sent to full Senate June 22. Sent to House Appropriations in May.

SB 1168- Legislature would approve/disapprove each and every road project requiring borrowing.
Would again require a majority in both the House and Senate -- in addition to the approval by the State Transportation Commission -- for all transportation notes or bonds. The Legislature would have 60 days to approve, alter, amend or reject the Commission's decisions. If no legislative approval came in those 60 days, the bonding would not be allowed.
Status: Sent to full Senate June 22.


SB 1082would restrict when employees of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resource can be assigned vehicles for transport between home and the office. In effect, it would deny the agency heads take home cars.
Status: Sent to full Senate June 22.

SB 1083would require statements with reimbursements to state workers and set reimbursement rates at the 2003-04 levels. -- How much has gas gone up in the past year? Secondly -- although it's kept pretty quiet, state employees already have furlough days -- unpaid time off due to the budget dilemma.
Status: Sent to full Senate June 22.

Charlene Crowell, Director
Transportation & Detroit Projects
Michigan Land Use Institute
314 North Walnut - 2nd Floor
Lansing, MI 48933-1124
Phone: (517) 367-7415