Wednesday's unveiling of awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Innovation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program left Michigan with little to show for applications submitted by municipal governments throughout the state. Only two cities-Detroit and Port Huron-were awarded funds for their transportation projects, receiving $23 million and $30 million, respectively.
In early 2006, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, the Wayne County Airport authority, and several Southeast Michigan cities and townships agreed to collectively pursue the development of an airport city-an aerotropolis comprised of 60,000 acres around the Detroit Metro and Willow Run airports. In early November, legislation regarding the Detroit Region Aerotropolis initiative was referred for a second reading as a portion of the Next Michigan Act. Though the legislature adjourns sin die this month, the initiative will likely be an interesting item to follow when the state House of Representatives reconvenes.
The Michigan Daily reported on Friday that $7.5 million in federal funds has been allocated for a study regarding a high-speed rail corridor between Detroit and Lansing, with potential stops in Dearborn, at Detroit Metro Airport, and in Ann Arbor. This is the first significant development in a long time, as Michigan spent most of October entangled in an intense state budget battle, which has still not yet been settled, even with a budget signed by Governor Granholm.
CATA began providing bus service in 1972, and after an initial surge in ridership that peaked in 1980, CATA ridership remained relatively level for the next 19 years. Ridership exceeded the previous peak in 1999 and began increasing sharply in 2000. Each of the past eight years has marked a new record in the number of riders.
Electric Vehicle Policy
Written by Mitchell Rhein
Sunday, 06 May 2012 19:39
Recently, Electric Vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a promising advance in technology that could have a substantial impact on various issues currently faced by Michigan and the United States. The most frequently cited public benefit of EVs is the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, the transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and between 36 and 78 percent of all urban air pollution. Research shows that each EV that displaces a conventional car produces savings of approximately 1.5 tons of CO2 per year and emits almost no harmful pollutants like conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) powered vehicles. Furthermore, 68 percent of all oil consumption in the U.S. comes from the transportation sector. Increased EV adoption could potentially reduce our nation's oil consumption, thus improving energy security. The burgeoning EV industry may also help to reduce the nation's high unemployment rate through the development of industry, business, standards and R&D. Finally, EVs have a lower per-mile cost compared to conventional ICE powered vehicles. For these reasons, states and the federal government have begun providing incentives for the adoption of EV technology by individuals and businesses. At the state level, Michigan currently lags behind other states in available EV incentives. However, at the federal level, one Michigan Senator is at the forefront of proposed EV policy in an effort to keep Michigan competitive in the global EV industry.
In June of 2011 Senate Bill 443 was introduced in the Senate Committee on Transportation to create a regional transit authority for southeast Michigan. The bill never made it out of committee. The regional transit authority would have consolidated and provided public transportation in Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, and Washtenaw County. More specifically, it would have governed Detroit's proposed Woodward Ave light rail project. However the light rail project was scheduled to be managed by the Detroit Department of Transportation, but many outside groups thought a regional transit authority would be more efficient. With Detroit being on the verge of bankruptcy and the funding sources for the project being called into question the rail project was scrapped. Instead of the light rail project the city opted for a bus rapid transit system, and with this new proposal a renewed effort for a regional transit authority has occurred. Whether or not a regional transit authority will be put in place is still in question.
Although the price of gas is largely impacted by the worldwide supply of oil, federal and state gasoline taxes also play a role. Currently, the federal government charges a tax of 18 cents per gallon and a 24-cent tax on diesel fuel. Along with these federal taxes, many states charge a separate levy which range from zero in Alaska to 46-cents in California. Michigan has a relatively moderate gasoline tax, charging 19-cents per gallon, but Governor Rick Snyder has proposed that this be changed.
It's no secret that Michigan's roads and highways are in need of repairs. But a recent report containing alarming information about the extent of road damage and the inadequacy of Michigan's road funding is bringing attention to new ideas for fixing Michigan's roads.
Last month, a report by the state House Transportation Committee concluded that over one-third of Michigan roads are in poor condition, while only 18% are considered to be in good condition. To reach a goal of 95% of freeways and 85% of all other roads in good or fair condition, the report calls for drastic increases in funding: an additional $1.4 billion for the next four years, and eventually an added $2.6 billion in 2023. To put this in perspective, a $1.4 billion increase would almost double the current road budget. The report also grimly projects that even if Michigan continues to meet the funding requirements necessary for matching federal aid, road conditions will decline greatly.
With over a week still remaining, September has already proven to be an important month for the future of the Woodward Avenue light rail project. Yet it remains to be seen whether there will even be light rail on Woodward in the near future.
The month began with a victory for the project, as the Federal Transit Authority issued a Record of Decision approving the city's Environmental Impact Statement detailing plans for the rail's construction. The approval was a necessary step for this project to have any chance of being realized, but many obstacles remain.
The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College.
The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.