Today, the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) submitted a letter opposing a proposed amendment to HB 6151 and 6152 by the County Road Association of Michigan (CRAM). As these Complete Streets bills reach the homestretch of the legislative process, CRAM is seizing this opportunity to attempt changes to Act 51, Section 10k, the only guaranteed source of funding for nonmotorized infrastructure in the state transportation budget.
As it currently stands, Section 10k requires (as it has for the past 32 years) that 1% of all surface transportation funding in the state transportation budget be allocated to nonmotorized transportation. Eligible projects can include sidewalks in cities and villages, bike lanes, widened shoulders, trails within the road right of way, campaigns for the safety of cyclists on Michigan roads and public education efforts in all jurisdiction that are eligible for transportation funding. This is not a hardship as jurisdictions have ten years in which to accumulate and spend these funds. It should also be noted that nonmotorized facilities, such as bike lanes and wide shoulders, have been proven to extend the life of our roads by protecting their edges.
While CRAM has made it clear from day one that they oppose these bills, they have chosen not to express their opposition publicly and instead have stated both in the House and Senate that they support these bills “in concept only.” Their last-minute attempt to tack on an unrelated issue to bills that have seen overwhelming nonpartisan support in both the House and Senate as well as the general public is certainly unfortunate to say the least.
HB 6151 and 6152 will soon be up for a vote on the Senate floor, possibly as soon as tomorrow, July 28th. We are asking all Complete Streets supporters to voice support for these bills to your State Senator and express opposition to CRAM’s efforts to eliminate mandatory nonmotorized funding in Michigan. A few bulleted concerns regarding CRAM’s ammendment are below and the letter of opposition by LMB and MTGA can be read here.
Concerns with CRAM Amendment:
- MDOT does not have the ability to leverage the large variety of different funding sources to satisfy the 1% requirement making it no longer a level playing field.
- Creates an environment of “haves, and have nots” among local road agencies. Some communities may not have the capacity, know how, or resources to leverage other sources of funding.
- Utilization of other funding sources may create challenges associated with auditing, reporting enforcement of compliance by MDOT and the Michigan Department of Treasury.
- Utilizing other sources may create issues associated with ensuring the funding is being used for appropriate non-motorized facilities.
- Current nonmotorized funding needs far exceed the current 1% requirement which means they should be using all other available funds to match or leverage the 10k investment – NOT replace it!