Posts Tagged ‘Governor Granholm’

New Threat to Michigan’s Trust Fund

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

dsc00022We mentioned this a couple days ago when discussing Trust Fund grants, but it’s worth further coverage.

But first, we note that much non-motorized transportation road funding comes from MDOT (e.g. Transportation Enhancements, CMAQ) and the state fuel tax (a minimum of 1% of which must be spent on non-motorized facilities.)  But the bottom line is all road projects should routinely accomodate bicyclists — that is the Federal Highway Administration policy guideline — and facilities such as bike lanes and paved shoulders should be paid for through the same funding sources as roads.

No legal road user group should have to bring their own pot of money to the table in order to get safe facilities.

Now the Transportation Funding Task Force is recommending that the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund be diverted for transportation.

It’s a terrible idea.  Michigan voters changed Michigan’s Constitution to prevents such diversions so it’s difficult to understand how or why anyone would make such a recommendation.

Since 1976, Trust Fund grants have been a fundamental source for funding recreation and parkland acquisition in Michigan.  That funding has been used at the local and county levels, as well as by the DNR. Most of the area’s rail-trail projects are around because the Trust Fund helped purchase the land.  A list of Trust Fund projects is on-line.

We recommend contacting Governor Granholm to let her know you oppose diverting the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for transportation.

Dennis Muchmore is the executive director for the MUCC also serves on the Trust Fund board.  He certainly doesn’t dance around the issue as his recent press release shows (see below).

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Governor Celebrates Detroit Bicycle Volunteers

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

From the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm celebrates volunteers committed to promoting bicycling in the communities of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing

The Hub/Back Alley Bikes in Detroit, The Motion Initiative in Grand Rapids, and MSU Bikes and Share a Bike in Lansing will host a Day of Action event on Saturday, September 27 from noon to 4 PM to encourage the donation of bikes and bike parts. The events, depending on location, will also offer free maintenance checks, bike safety training and other services and activities.

These organizations work tirelessly to collect, repair and distribute bikes in their communities. Participating residents can support their efforts, donate bikes, and learn more about biking and bike maintenance.

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Here are some of the details for The Hub’s Saturday event:

  • Clean out your garage and donate a bike or bike parts
  • Donated bikes will go through safety checks and repairs, then be distributed to Detroit youth
  • Bring in your own bike for safety repairs including fixing flat tires, chains or brakes
  • Participate in on-bike safety activities to learn proper use of:
    • Hand signals
    • Helmets
    • Lights
    • Locks
  • Put your training to the test with a group ride at 3 PM

Contact Jake VanDyke at 313.879.5073 for further details

Increased Priority on Urban Trail Funding

Sunday, July 20th, 2008
Funding for the Clinton River Trail in Rochester Hills, Michigan

The Trust Fund helped acquire the Clinton River Trail in Rochester Hills, Michigan

Governor Granholm recently signed Senate Bill 978 into law.  This bill adds the following directive for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund:

The board shall give particular consideration to the acquisition of land and rights in land for
recreational trails that intersect the downtown areas of cities and villages.

Trails in urban areas have often been at a disadvantage when applying for Trust Fund grants.  They often don’t offer pristine natural resources yet they cost more than land located in more rural parts of Michigan.  To offset this disparity, the Trust Fund scoring system did provide extra points for regional trails.

It’s not clear how much of a change this will have in the grant process, but it should make trails in Southeast Michigan a bit more attractive.

New MDOT Initiative to Improve On-Road Biking

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

As we noted earlier, Governor Granholm started occasionally biking to work.

Our Governor also said that MDOT was looking at building more bike lanes. We made some calls to MDOT to learn more.

This is apparently “a new challenge to MDOT to get more on-road paved shoulders to assist with bicycle travel.” The are especially looking opportunities where they could connect with existing regional bike networks using state trunk lines.

This is very welcomed news for Michigan cyclists.

Also, Michigan’s governor riding to work did get some ink in the Chicago Tribune recently:

You know times are tough when the governor of Michigan, the top executive in the state that put the nation on wheels and sold a generation of Americans on the virtues of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs, is now riding her bike to work.

This symbolic gesture by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm—pedaling a couple of days a week to the state Capitol in Lansing—is part of an evolving behavior shift by individuals, employers and governments struggling to adjust to the hard reality of gas at more than $4 a gallon, as well as higher energy costs overall.

Governor commutes by bike; Pushes bike lanes

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Governor Jennifer Granholm and First Gentleman Daniel Mulhern The Oakland Press reported about Michigan’s Governor commuting by bike to the State Capitol:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is riding her bike to work a couple of times a week, an example of a way she says Michigan consumers can save money.

The 49-year-old governor lives just southwest of the city center, about 3 miles from her office near the state Capitol. She rode her blue bike to work Wednesday, accompanied by her security detail.

The state Department of Transportation is looking at state roads to figure out where it would be safe to add bike lanes and is planning to expand park-and-ride lots and add more, since some are at capacity as more drivers carpool to save money, Granholm said.

Heather Newman of the Free Press also blogged on this:

Granted, Granholm’s three-mile commute isn’t exactly a grueling workout. But most of us make plenty of short trips – to the dry cleaners, or the local supermarket/convenience store, or the movie rental place – that we could probably reach easily on a bike. Or walk to, for that matter.

It’d save a little gas, and it might add a few calories to our daily workout. It’d cut down just a bit on our personal smog emissions. But more importantly, it’d contribute to giving us all a more healthy, active lifestyle – one fueled by the recognition that our legs can, in fact, take us to meaningful places.