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The Senate Banking Committee has approved legislation, S. 1619, authorizing new competitive grants for local governments and regional planning organizations working together on community planning initiatives that coordinate housing, transit, and energy efficiency. However, due to budget pressures funding was reduced from $4 billion to $2.7 billion over three years.
The bill, known as the Livable Communities Act, will improve the alignment of housing, transit and energy efficiency programs at the federal level and continues to showcase the changes taking place in federal policy and once again shows the need for Michigan communities to be working on a regional basis to further such efforts.
So what’s in the bill?
The Livable Communities Act of 2009 will make it possible for communities to:
- Develop comprehensive regional plans to incorporate transportation, housing, community and economic development, and environmental needs.
- Enables communities to enact their plans by funding Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transportation, and pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares that foster economic development and build livable communities.
Senator Chris Dodd says, “with sustainable development, our communities will cut traffic congestion; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline consumption; protect rural areas and green spaces; revitalize existing Main Streets and urban centers; and create more affordable housing.”
Just posting a friendly reminder as a follow-up on our post from last week regarding tomorrow’s Virtual Lobby Day in support of the Active Community Transportation Act, H.R.4722. Tomorrow the League of Michigan Bicyclists is leading a delegation of 13 Michigan cycling advocates to lobby for Complete Streets and more funding and federal support for bicycling in Michigan. We have a full day of meetings scheduled with Michigan Congresspeople and are asking you to back up our face to face efforts with phone calls from back home. Specifically, please help us generate support for H.R. 4722 (Act Act).
Learn more about the ACT Act here.
Download Issue Paper on ACT Act (and Complete Streets Bill) here.
For those Michigan complete streets advocates not attending the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, please participate in the Virtual Lobby Day on Thursday March 11. In conjunction with the National Bike Summit we ask that you call your representative at the same time that over 700 Summit participants will have in-person meetings in congressional offices. The combination of face to face and phone communications in support of this bill will demonstrate a strong and unified Michigan voice next week on Capitol Hill. The Virtual Lobby Day is being organized by our cycling friends at America Bikes.
We encourage you to use the talking points below to send your own alert encouraging your members to participate.
Please call your representatives on March 11th to ask them to co-sponsor H.R.4722: “The Active Community Transportation Act.” Tell them:
- Bicycling and walking are part of the solution. Half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less, yet the majority of these short trips are made by car. Shifting more of these short trips to biking and walking would not only reduce congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and our dependence on oil, but will also improve physical activity, safety, and livability.
- Investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure works. Commuting by bicycle has increased 43 percent since 2000 – and by 69 percent in designated Bicycle Friendly Communities that have invested in infrastructure improvements.
- Please co-sponsor the Active Community Transportation Act (H.R.4722).
Here are the phone numbers for all the Michigan Congress people:
- Senator Carl Levin (D- MI) 202-224-6221
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D- MI) 202-224-4822
- Representative Bart Stupak (D – 01) 202-225-4735
- Representative Pete Hoekstra (R – 02) 202-225-4401
- Representative Vern Ehlers (R – 03) 202-225-3831
- Representative Dave Camp (R – 04) 202-225-3561
- Representative Dale E. Kildee (D – 05) 202-225-3611
- Representative Fred Upton (R – 06) 202-225-3761
- Representative Mark Schauer (D – 07) 202-225-6276
- Representative Mike Rogers (R – 08) 202-225-4872
- Representative Gary Peters (D – 09) 202-225-5802
- Representative Candice Miller (R – 10) 202-225-2106
- Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R – 11) 202-225-8171
- Representative Sandy Levin (D – 12) 202-225-4961
- Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick (D – 13) 202-225-2261
- Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D – 14) 202-225-5126
- Representative John D. Dingell (D – 15) 202-225-4071
Don’t know who your Congressperson is? Visit http://capwiz.com/lab/home/ and enter your address to find out.
Representative Earl Blumenauer just introduced the Active Community Transportation Act, H.R.4722. This groundbreaking bill creates a competitive grant program with $2 billion to help communities build bicycling and walking networks. For the first time, communities would be able to compete for multi-year funding to build active transportation systems, just as they do for transit and road infrastructure.
“Too often we take for granted the value of being able to bike and walk to work,” said Blumenauer. “It’s unfortunate that many communities don’t have the infrastructure in place to make active and healthy forms of transportation more accessible. The ACT transportation grants will make it easier for people to get out of their vehicles and onto sidewalks or bikes, boosting both heart rates and community vitality.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced $1.5 billion in TIGER Grant funding for over 50 high-priority, innovative transportation projects across the country. The projects, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will create thousands of jobs all over the country and help get the economy back on track.
M-1/Woodward Avenue Light Rail Project
$25,000,000 was awarded to construct a light rail system connecting Downtown Detroit to the New Center district along the region’s main artery on Woodward Avenue. The project is 3.4 miles long with 12 station stops. The light rail system will run on both sides of the street in the second lane from the curb and will be co-mingled with vehicular traffic. TIGER funds will be used for road rehabilitation, a streetscape enhancement project, and the purchase of light rail cars.
Black River Bridge Replacement
$30,000,000 in TIGER funds will be used to construct a new Black River Bridge to replace the existing structure built in 1963. The bridge replacement is part of the integrated $583 million Blue Water Bridge Plaza Expansion Project. The Blue Water Bridge connects Port Huron, Michigan with Canada. The overall project will expand the existing international border crossing plaza, improve the approaching I-94/I-69 corridors including some interchanges, relocate a city street, relocate an electrical substation and replace the International Welcome Center. The TIGER-funded portion of the project replaces the existing aging bridge over the Black River with a modern facility separating international and local traffic.
One of the highlights of the Black River Bridge project is the inclusion of a 14-foot wide bike/pedestrian crossing.