Posts Tagged ‘Candice Miller’

House transportation bill: a disaster for biking and walking

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Since 1993, biking and walking transportation have been better supported with each new transportation bill: Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, Bike/Pedestrian coordinators at the state DOT’s, and more.

That’s could end soon.

Today the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted on a new federal transportation bill — an 800-page bill that none of the legislators admitted to reading since its release just two days prior.

Current U.S. DOT Transportation Secretary and form Republican congressman Ray LaHood told Politico:

“This is the most partisan transportation bill that I have ever seen. And it also is the most anti-safety bill I have ever seen. It hollows out our No. 1 priority, which is safety, and frankly, it hollows out the guts of the transportation efforts that we’ve been about for the last three years. It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.”

Oregon’s Representative Peter DeFazio called it “a transportation bill with an ideological wish list – drafted with Big Oil companies in mind – that will prevent Congress from passing a measure that could provide real transportation improvements.”

The League of American Bicyclists have put together this top 10 list of problems. For example, rail trails could not be funded by Transportation Enhancement dollars. The Dequindre Cut, Clinton River Trail, Macomb Orchard Trail, and other area rail-trail projects were largely built with Transportation Enhancement dollars.

A bipartisan amendment was introduced to restore dedicated biking and walking funding. It failed to pass, 27 to 29.

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller, a longtime support of the Macomb Orchard Trail, voted against the amendment.

What’s next? According to this America Bikes timeline, the bill should hit the House around the week of February 13th.

Meanwhile the Senate is working on its own version of the transportation bill which not only maintains current biking and walking funding, it has some level of bi-partisan support.

Tomorrow the House Republican leadership has proposed killing dedicated public transit funding.

 

More on the West Bloomfield Trail extension

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

We mentioned a couple weeks ago that West Bloomfield had received Transportation Enhancement funding through the Road Commission for Oakland County.

The Spinal Column has more exciting details:

“We’re going to put a new limestone surface on top of the ballast similar to the existing trail, and have a safe road crossing at Arrowhead, Halsted and Walnut Lake,” said West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Director Dan Navarre. “There will be 400 feet of boardwalk north of Walnut Lake over a wetland area and a pergola area with benches.”

There will be benches installed every quarter-mile and two overlooks with benches – one at Woodpecker Lake between Arrowhead and Halsted Road, and another over a large wetland area west of Halsted.

A small parking lot will be constructed at the terminus of the trail at Haggerty Road.

This will add 2.5 miles of pathway and extend the West Bloomfield Trail all the way to Haggerty Road. Here it will eventually connect with the Walled Lake, Commerce, and Wixom rail-trail also under development. MDOT has also suggested building a trail bridge across M-5 to connect the trails.

The Road Commission is even considering a speed table where the trail crosses Arrowhead — an innovative traffic calming design that we’d like to see more of. Not only does it act as a stretched speed bump for cars, it tells drivers that they’re crossing the trail. It visually says that the trail has a right-of-way. This is a design we would have preferred seeing where the Dequindre Cut crosses streets south of Jefferson.

As mentioned in the Spinal Column, the West Bloomfield trail extension should be under construction by May and completed by the end of summer.

Support Transportation Enhancements

Federal Transportation Enhancement funding really makes projects like this possible, but that funding source may get eliminated in Congress. A vote on this is coming up this week in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Local congresswoman Candice Miller serves on this committee.

Please take a minute and call her office before Thursday’s vote and ask her to not eliminate this funding. Her Washington DC phone number is (202) 225-2106.

Let’s keep this funding in the next transportation bill!

 

National Bike Summit: a Detroit perspective

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The 10th National Bike Summit in Washington DC was last week. This three day event was a great opportunity to learn the latest on bike advocacy issues, lobby Congress, and network with peers.

I was attending this wearing a two main MTGA hats: Detroit Greenways Coordinator and Michigan Airline Trail Ambassador.

My highlight was Thursday morning. We had a group breakfast for last minute legislative updates and some cheerleading prior to our Congressional office visits. I was waiting behind this older gentleman for coffee. Being a bit impatient, I asked if I could cut in front. He poured my coffee and I said “Thanks”. It was then that I realized Congressman James Oberstar — one of the key bike supporters in DC and chair of the House Transportation committee — had just poured my coffee.

It was going to be a great day!

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