Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Stabenow’

Bike and Pedestrian funding survives — again!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Senators Levin and Stabenow escort Transportation Secretary LaHood on the RiverWalk, a project that has received Enhancements funding.

The U.S. Senate just voted 38 to 60 which preserves critical federal funding called Transportation Enhancements.

Enhancements are the primary funding source for bike and pedestrian projects. Had we lost this funding, it would have devastated our efforts to make Detroit and all of Michigan more bike-friendly.

The run up to this vote was colorful. Senator Rand Paul played up America’s failing bridges while decrying wasteful Enhancements spending. The only problem? The Associated Press researched his claims and found them to be “exaggerated and misrepresented” according to the article, FACT CHECK: GOP lawmakers spin funding tall tales.

Both Michigan Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, voted to continue this funding.

Thanks to everyone who contacted their senators prior to today’s vote.

When we contacted Senator Stabenow regarding this issue, she provided this positive response:

Thank you for contacting me about federal funding for pedestrian and bicycle trails. I share your concerns.

Michigan’s lush natural resources and unique landscapes present many opportunities for residents and visitors to make use of our bike paths, hiking trails and other non-motorized pathways. These areas not only provide recreational enjoyment for Michigan residents, but also attract much-needed tourism and economic activity to our state.

In the past, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced legislation that would require most federally funded transportation projects to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users. If related legislation should come before me for a vote, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

The Harkin bill she mentions is for Complete Streets.

Cap and Trade. Biking and Detroit

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

In an effort to manage carbon emissions, Congress has been working on cap and trade legislation.

Since about a third of U.S. carbon emissions are due to transportation, bike and walk advocates want a portion of carbon credits sales to fund clean transportation. That effort resulted in CLEAN-TEA legislation.

The bill is predicated upon passage of a comprehensive climate change bill, such as the one considered by the Senate earlier this year, which would generate revenue for the Federal government. Under CLEAN TEA, ten percent of the revenue would be used to create a more efficient transportation system and lower greenhouse gas emissions through strategies including funding new or expanded transit or passenger rail; supporting development around transit stops; and making neighborhoods safer for bikes and pedestrians.

Certainly we could use more funding for transit and non-motorized transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately the House is only looking at 1%, while the Senate is looking at 2.4%. Both are less than the 10% called for in CLEAN-TEA.

But there’s another potential funding source for the city of Detroit thanks to legislation introduced by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

According to the Detroit News:

Farmers, landowners and even cities could sell pollution credits to ease the costs of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under a bill introduced in Congress.

The Clean Energy Partnership Act could be a boon for cities like Detroit, with an estimated 40 square miles of vacant land, or Flint, where a quarter of all the homes are vacant. The cities could reforest lots and sell the credits to business to shore up drained budgets.

And while Detroit’s vacant land issue has not been the highest priority of the Bing administration, that should change next year.

The mayor plans to address the issue of vacant land by the first quarter of next year, said spokesman Edward Cardenas. “We’re looking at a whole array of different options,” he said, adding the city is interested in Stabenow’s proposal.

“Planting trees could be one of those options. We need to look at everything that is out there.”

He said the city is looking at uses of the land for farming, green space and reforestation.

And green space is a great place for greenways. This could be a big win-win for Detroit trails.

In recent years Detroit has sold parkland. Fortunately some, like the Rouge Park sell off, have been stopped. Others potential park sales continue to hang around, especially as the city does not have enough funds to maintain them.

Stabenow’s Clean Energy Partnership Act would help.

Link: Contact Senator Stabenow

Welcome to the RiverWalk, Secretary LaHood

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Both Michigan Senators flank the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on the Detroit RiverWalkToday did not go as planned. At 11am I read about the Secretary of Transportation being on the Detroit RiverWalk. At 11:50pm I was walking into the ceremony wearing a suit and looking like I’d actually been invited.

Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit to tour the new Detroit Terminal Port and highlight the $7 million in stimulus funding that helped make it possible.

Also with the Secretary was Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman John Dingell, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.

Before the tour, I had a chance to speak with both senators. They are both very in tuned with Detroit greenway projects, including the RiverWalk, Dequindre Cut, and Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink. Senator Levin has helped bring significant funding to the Detroit RiverWalk.

When speaking with Senator Levin, I mentioned the fact that U.S. bicyclists cannot get across to Windsor and their excellent greenways without taking a car over the bridge or through the tunnel. Having this new Detroit port with customs and water taxi service would provide an excellent means for bicyclists crossing between our two countries. He apparently grasped the value in this as I overheard him repeating this to Secretary LaHood. He also highlighted it during his interview with ClickOnDetroit.

Senator Carl Levin said the new terminal will include a customs office, which will help increase traffic between Detroit and Windsor for water taxis, ferry boats and even bicycles.

“They can’t now come across. There’s no way to do it, so there may be a ferry service they are talking about to just literally bring people back and forth with their bicycles,” Levin said.

While I only had a brief moment to speak with Secretary LaHood, it was enough to give an elevator statement on our efforts in building a network of greenways across Detroit.

I also had a chance to talk with Curtis Hertel, the executive director of the Wayne County Port Authority who will be running the terminal. He too is interested in further discussions on how the Port can accommodate bicyclists crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

Still wearing my hat as Detroit Greenways Coordinator for MTGA, I made sure the Senators’ and Secretary’s staff got copies of the Detroit Greenways Network Brochure.

State Representative Marie Donigan and member of the House Transportation Committee was also there. She spoke with LaHood about improving transit in Detroit.

Will the RiverWalk be completed on this stretch next year? Probably not. There will still be a couple temporary connectors. Money to complete those is being sought. Also note that when ships are unloading passengers, the main RiverWalk will close. However, there is an alternate section that will pass around the Terminal building so that pedestrians, cyclists, runners, and skaters can pass.

Link: Photos from the Detroit Terminal Port tour

Link: Secretary LaHood’s “FastLane” blog on his Detroit visit

RiverWalk and Macomb Trails in the news

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Tri-Centennial State Park update from the Detroit Free Press

Detroit RiverWalk

The Free Press article, Detroit park to offer walk on the wilder side, provides a detailed update on the Tri-Centennial State Park Phase II expansion along the RiverWalk.

The planned 31-acre park will help plug a central gap in the city’s 3 1/2 -mile RiverWalk promenade on the east side.

Running about 1,000 feet along the waterfront, the new phase will feature walking paths winding through a created wetland planted with native grasses and other plants. Grasses will be left uncut to create a look similar to what the French found when they settled in Detroit in 1701.

Along with this much welcomed addition are additional details on the largest missing portion of the east RiverWalk: the Uniroyal site between the bridge to Belle Isle and Mt. Elliot park. According to Faye Nelson, Executive Director for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, construction could begin as early as next year.

Extending the RiverWalk across the barren site known as Uniroyal will await an environmental cleanup there, Nelson said. But she said she was optimistic that a cleanup might begin next year.

Macomb County Trail Loop

WWJ is reporting $2 million dollar in funding has been allocated for the Macomb County Trail Loop. This money would be put towards the 17 miles that are not completed across the entire 70-mile loop, which includes the Macomb Orchard Trail and Metropolitan bike path.

The funding is attached to a jobs growth bill thanks to the work of Senator Debbie Stabenow. The Kettering Gateway Project in Flint also received $1.2 million through this same bill.