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Re: SG-W:/ House Paves the Way to Smoother Roads


What about the use of native prairie grasses incorporated into the backslopes of
existing and new road corridors?

Any idea how many millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours and
gallons of fuel are spent on our manicured roadsides, when all of these acres 
could be planted to native vegitation that would need no mowing?

Jim Shaeffer
Native Prairie Restorations
3985 Research Park Drive
Ann Arbor, MI  48108
Phone:    800-298-9987 or 734-741-9987
Fax:      734-741-9528
E-Mail:   jcs@jcsinc.com

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: SG-W:/ House Paves the Way to Smoother Roads 
Author:  "Conan Smith" <conanmec@voyager.net> at InternetGateway
Date:    12/14/01 12:12 PM

CONTACT:  Conan Smith
Friday, December 14, 2001
Land Programs Director

(517) 487-9539


House Paves Way for Better Roads

Enviro?s, Roadbuilders Unite for a Smoother System

LANSING ? On unanimous votes, the Michigan House of Representatives Thursday 
passed two measures that will help direct state road money to the most needy 
transportation corridors.   The measures were recommended by a Gubernatorial 
study committee and supported by both environmentalists and industry 

House Bill 5383 creates a uniform definition of road maintenance that 
excludes new construction activities ? current law enables the state to spend 
pothole dollars on road widening.  House Bill 5393 implements a statewide 
asset management strategy, which will help the Michigan Department of 
Transportation (MDOT) invest its $3 billion budget in the creation of 
better-maintained and more holistic system.

?MDOT is in sore need of better direction,? said Conan Smith, Land Programs 
Director at the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC).  ?Michigan has one of 
the most unsustainable transportation systems in the country.  These bills 
will help us reprioritize our spending in ways that are both cost-efficient 
and effective for Michigan motorists and transit riders.?

Environmentalist began advocating for changes to the maintenance definition 
three years ago when it came to light that more than half of Michigan?s 
roads had a life expectancy of less than seven years.  Research by MEC 
revealed that road maintenance was among the lowest of MDOT?s priorities.

?Any driver in southeast Michigan can tell you what a disaster the highways 
are,? Smith said.  ?For years we built new and wider highways while we let 
the ones we already had crumble around us.?

Road agencies across the state must use the new definitions and report 
annual investment figures to the Legislature.  The definitions create clear 
distinctions between reactive or routine maintenance activities ? like snow 
removal and pothole patching ? and ?preservation? activities such as 
widening a road to accommodate new traffic.

Environmentalists believe that the new asset management system will help 
move maintenance and transit investments to their rightful place at the 
forefront of Michigan?s spending priorities.

?This is a dollars and sense issue,? Smith said.  ?Road investment decisions 
today are made without the right data to assure the sustainability of our 
transportation system as a whole.?

HB5386 creates a council made up of local government representatives and 
charged with developing a process for addressing data collection, training 
and planning issues.  The asset management council will apparently evaluate 
only road building and maintenance issues.

?Transit representation is blatantly excluded,? lamented Smith.  ?Any reform 
that doesn?t envision a system of 18-lane double-decker highways has got to 
take transit into account.?

Although supportive of the House proposals, MEC will work to improve the 
language as it moves through the Michigan Senate.


Conan Smith
Land Programs Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
p. 517-487-9539
f.  517-487-9541
mailto:conanmec@voyager.net <mailto:conanmec@voyager.net> 
http://www.mecprotects.org/ <http://www.mecprotects.org/>

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