Thursday, August 5, 2010

Three Whoopees and two Wait-and-Sees

We recently received three pieces of good news about transportation in Michigan, but there are still two important issues waiting to be resolved:

  1. Whoopee! In the Detroit area, voters on August 2 strongly affirmed their desire to keep SMART bus service by renewing the millage. The margins were 71.8% in Macomb County, 73.7% in Wayne, and an astounding 78.1% in normally conservative Oakland County. Does this indicate a major shift in desire to see strong public transit in Michigan? (Here's the article in the "Freep".)
  2. Whoopee! Also on August 2, US Department of Transportation Secratary Ray LaHood held a joint press conference in Detroit with Mayor Bing to announce significant progress in the M1 Rail project, to be built on Woodward Avenue. This project is especially important because it has moved forward largely through private initiative, led by Detroit businessmen Roger Penske, Mike Illitch, Peter Karmanos, and Dan Gilbert. Wake Up Washtenaw is dedicated to progress through public-private partnership. Of course it's well known that the Obama administration has made public development of improved rail service a priority, but private participation means the entire community will be behind sustainable development - not just the public sector. (Here's what Crane's had to say.)
  3. Whoopee! The Michigan State Legislature last week passed the Complete Streets bills (2010 PA 134 and 135). We've become the 14th state to require new street designs to include safe pedestrian and bicycle facilities - not just more traffic lanes. This legislation was co-sponsored by Washtenaw County's own Rep. Pam Byrnes. :-) (The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition has the details.)

But wait...

  1. Sigh. No legislation yet on a regional transit authority for all of the Detroit area.
  2. Sigh. No resolution to the inadequate funding for Michigan's Amtrak service.

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