UPDATE (5/5/11): Yesterday the full House passed the transportation budget with most other department budgets as one omnibus bill. The transportation budget contained the same cuts approved by the House Appropriations Committee – $10 million reduction to Bus Operating and $10 million reduction to Bus Capital. The bill also removed important language that gives grant funding preference to communities with complete streets policies.
We would like to thank everyone who responded to our action alert to oppose these cuts. The next stop for this bill is conference committee, made up of legislators from both the House and Senate. We do not yet know when the committee will meet or who the conferees will be. As soon as we know we will post this information to our website.
As we reported last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Transportation voted against the Governor’s funding recommendation for fiscal year 2012 by reducing public transportation funding by up to 10 percent. Additionally, important complete streets language was stripped from the House version of this transportation funding bill. This important incentive has helped to encourage at least 24 communities in Michigan to adopt complete streets policies this past year, for a total of 40 across the state – the most in the nation.
We are asking complete streets and transit supporters to take action today and contact your Representative to ask them to restore funding for public transportation and to continue to prioritize transportation funding to communities with complete streets policies. After clicking the take action link above, a predrafted message to your representative will pull up once you put in your zip code. We encourage you to personalize the message and to explain why public transportation and complete streets are important to you.
Thank you in advance for taking action!
SENATE BUDGET UPDATE:
The full Senate Appropriations Committee reported out yesterday morning their version of the transportation budget which cuts $15 million from the passenger transportation fund (CTF). Senator Anderson offered an amendment, which was supported by Senator Pappageorge and approved, that shifts the full $15 million cut to the Bus Capital line item (the original version had the $15 million cut split between Bus Operating [$5 million] and Bus Capital [$10 million]. This is the less bad option. It means that there will not be money to purchase new buses for FY 12, but restores the money for bus operating.
The Complete Streets boilerplate language was retained in the Senate version. Passenger rail was fully funded.
At this point, we don’t know when the full House Appropriations Committee will meet to take up their version of the bill, so please make sure to contact your Representative asap.