Who should receive a (Detroit) Regional Transit Award?

On May 21, TRU will present our second annual Regional Transit Awards to recognize the essential work individuals, organizations, and businesses have done over the past year to improve transit throughout greater Detroit. Categories include:

  • Citizen Activist of the Year
  • Corporate Transit Champion
  • Transit Employee of the Year
  • Exemplary Regionalism & Innovation Award
  • Forward Motion Award for Most Effective Public Servant
  • Top Progressive Initiative Award

Submit nominations at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZwR1E4Wkxfck9LNUk0Q1NPMGRHTWc6MA.

For more information, see http://detroittransit.org.

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Ann Arbor Non-Motorized Transportation Blog

Ann Arbor has new non-motorized transportation blog at http://a2nonmoto.tumblr.com!

As the City of Ann Arbor prepares to update its Non-Motorized Transportation Plan this year (last done in 2007), it is time to not only see how much infrastructure we have built, but also how much our city’s culture has changed. Here is a place to collect videos, photos, and news items that help to piece together all the wonderful things that make Ann Arbor’s culture of non-motorized transportation unique and worth CELEBRATING! For more information on non-motorized transportation in Ann Arbor please visit www.a2gov.org/WalkBikeDrive and www.a2gov.org. If you are interested in submitting a photo to the blog, or to learn more about the blog please email kknapp@a2gov.org.

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Gordon Mackay: Michigan Flyer is an economic asset to the region

LSJ recently called Michigan Flyer a “threat” to the Lansing airport and local economy.  Seriously? Michigan Flyer is part of Indian Trails, a 101-year-old, family business based in Owosso.

At issue is our proposed new I-96 route between East Lansing, Howell, Brighton and Detroit Metropolitan Airport, doubling daily trips to 14 and giving most passengers the hourly service they desire. (Our current I-94 route runs between East Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro.)

To support first-year operations, MDOT applied on our behalf for a one-time $1.5 million grant from a federal program encouraging sustainable public-private transportation initiatives. Michigan Flyer would contribute $390,000 plus invest $1.5 million of our own in three new luxury motor coaches.

If this competitive grant is denied, the funds will likely go to another state, and the I-96 route won’t happen.

It’s supported by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Environmental Council—and 92% of our passengers.

LSJ opposes it because the airport says our little shuttle service costs the community “nearly $150 million in lost revenue” annually.  Likewise, several local business leaders took that claim at face value and reacted negatively.

But the airport’s lost revenue projection is pure fiction—based on a study done in 2004, two years before Michigan Flyer existed.

The “loss” was calculated by multiplying all of Michigan Flyer’s 250 daily passengers X 365 days X $1,643 (a dubious estimate of revenue brought in by each Lansing airport passenger).

Here’s why it’s absurd to assume our passengers are “losses” to Lansing’s airport:

  • 33% come from out of state to do business, attend conventions, and visit family or friends—increasing regional revenue exactly like air passengers (by $50 million using the airport’s multiplier).
  • 66% live in Lansing, Jackson, or Ann Arbor. They choose us to save money, conserve energy, protect environment, avoid and reduce traffic, stay productive with free WiFi, travel between MSU and U-M or towns along I-94—generating millions more in economic benefit. Thousands don’t or can’t drive, like students and people with disabilities.
  • Most fly from Detroit for better ticket prices and options (DTW offers 720 flights a day, LAN 12), and say they’d drive there if Michigan Flyer didn’t exist.  They’re no more drain on Lansing’s economy than people flying to Cancun.

In fact, the number of local residents taking ground transportation to DTW each day—roughly 1,400—is the same now as before Michigan Flyer began in 2006. Only today, 200 are riding with us, not driving.

The Lansing airport has twice said on the record that it doubts Michigan Flyer would cause or has caused much change in airport use by area residents. Correct.

Michigan Flyer’s competition is the automobile. Our slogan is “Why drive?”

Truth is, Michigan Flyer runs both ways. A new I-96 route represents an opportunity to market Lansing real estate, entertainment, shopping, medical facilities, and schools to the whole I-96 corridor.

Like the airport, Michigan Flyer is an economic advantage and essential transportation option for our region.

Read the full article at http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/lansingstatejournal/access/2420996891.html?FMT=ABS&date=Aug+07%2C+2011

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MDOT launches new Mi Commute web site

Visit Mi Commute at http://www.michigan.gov/micommute

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Selection of ‘Smart Growth’ transit plan marks beginning of AATA countywide expansion

Author: Ryan J. Stanton

After months of gaining feedback from the community through public forums and online polls, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority officials say the verdict is clear: Washtenaw County residents are overwhelmingly in support of a robust plan to expand transit services.

The AATA’s governing board voted unanimously tonight with one member absent to move forward with the most comprehensive and most expensive of three Transit Master Plan scenarios the agency had been considering in recent weeks.

The resolution approved by the board authorizes the agency to move ahead with implementing the “Smart Growth” scenario into the agency’s long-term Transit Master Plan. AATA’s Planning and Development Committee last week recommended the plan over two other options.

“I guess the way I look at this motion is that we’re basically saying this is where we want to be in 30 years,” board Chairman Jesse Bernstein said just before the vote.

“And in a way, that’s almost the easy part, because once we accept that, then we’ve got to figure out how to get there,” Bernstein said. “So this is the beginning.”

Read the full article at http://annarbor.com/news/selection-of-smart-growth/?cmpid=NL_DH_topheadlines

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Michigan will be receiving $150 million to develop a high-speed rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn

Dearborn, MI – Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) announced that the State of Michigan will be receiving $150 million to develop a high-speed rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn.  The funding was awarded through the fiscal year (FY) 2010 High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) also announced a second grant, for $3.2 million, that will pay for planning involved in the project.

“This announcement is another positive step forward towards developing high speed rail in Michigan,” Dingell said. “ While Michigan has the infrastructure necessary to support rail transit between Detroit and Chicago, high-speed rail will never be a reality without the service upgrades that will be made possible through this grant.

“Our people want alternative transit options, and this grant will help Michigan, and the United States, to compete with our neighbors abroad.  The United States has fallen behind in the development of our transit corridors, witnessing China and Japan take the lead in developing successful high speed rail corridors.  Rail lines in China, Japan and other countries, have brought added benefits from making communities more livable to attracting new industries and companies.  If we are to continue to compete with our neighbors, we must make these critical upgrades in our infrastructure.”

Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. added: “Congressman Dingell’s experience and know-how represent a huge advantage for this community and for all of the people he represents.  Time and time again, we have benefited from his efforts on our behalf.  Those benefits range from helping us stabilize our neighborhoods, to securing jobs and reinvestment, to improving and protecting our environment.  This grant is just another one of the examples where Congressman Dingell’s work has produced great results for the City of Dearborn.”

Read the full article at http://dingell.house.gov/news/press-releases/2010/10/dingell-delivers-new-investment-will-improve-rail-line-between-dearborn-and-kalamazoo-congressman-le.shtml

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