What’s Next for Michigan’s Trails?

Posted 05/12/15 by Leeann Sinpatanasakul in Policy, Taking Action

Sanford Railroad Bridge, Pere Marquette Rail-Trail in Michigan | Photo courtesy C Hanchey | CC by 2.0

On May 5, 2015, voters in Michigan made their voices clear: Although many believe that roads and other transportation infrastructure are in poor condition, the complicated Proposal 1, which would have increased both the fuel tax and sales tax to fund maintenance and improvements, while maintaining funding for schools and essential municipal services, was not the answer. 

Polls suggest that voters are not happy with the state legislature’s attempt to pass off the critical decision about how to fix this problem. They want the state legislature to return to work and find a way to provide the additional funding needed.

Photo courtesy League of Michigan Bicyclists | CC by 2.0

In a new poll conducted by prominent polling firm EPIC-MRA, an incredible 87 percent of survey respondents said that they want the legislature to immediately begin working on an alternative road funding plan, and 85 percent said the governor should call a special legislative session to convene the work.

Michiganders not only want funding to fix crumbling roads, they also want to continue to fund public transportation, improve rail service and invest in biking and hiking trails. In short, Michiganders want a better, balanced transportation system that includes trails and places to safely walk and bike.

There could be many different reasons why Michigan voters did not think that Proposal 1 was the best solution—but they do want investment in Michigan’s transportation system. Michigan’s leaders should not use the results on May 5 as an excuse to sit back and do nothing.

As Michigan’s infrastructure continues to crumble, finding a solution to fully fund the system will be no easy task. In the weeks and months to come, RTC will continue to follow this issue and ensure that trails, walking and biking remain an essential part of any solution to Michigan’s transportation woes.

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