Last week in Grand Rapids, Gov. Snyder joined a group of state officials, business owners, and community leaders to break ground on a $40 million new bus line that’s expected to spur millions in new development and connect suburban commuters to downtown.
As the clouds make way for the spring sun, a lot of people are dusting off their bike helmets and heading out to work on two wheels. A “modal shift” is going full-speed ahead around the state and here in Traverse City. And it’s more than a seasonal change-it’s a long-lasting shift. Just take a look around.
More money is needed for transportation in Michigan, especially when it comes to rebuilding our freight and passenger rail network, improving transit, maintaining the roads we already have, and building our cities. But unless state lawmakers offer more local financing tools amid the state transportation debate, city streets will continue to crumble.
In Lansing, the Michigan Senate passed a series of bills that would create a regional transit authority for Detroit and its surrounding counties. The authority would be responsible for coordinating and improving transit service in the Metro Detroit region. The House of Representatives could vote on the bill this month. This is a monumental step toward making transit service in Michigan more efficient and much more effective.
We traveled onward, toward Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, where transportation challenges surely exist, but there’s good reason to be optimistic. What we saw in those cities reminded us that Michigan’s transportation system could grow into a good one some day.