Transportation costs in the Grand Traverse region are sky-high. In fact, the average family spends about $15,000 a year on transportation alone, according to the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
Local Motion, a new northwest Michigan program for improving transportation choices in the Grand Traverse region, is rolling out a series of fact sheets to outline our current transportation habits. This first sheet reveals the current reality: Most commuters in the Grand Traverse area drive very long distances to get to work.
Earlier this year, we asked about 1,500 Traverse City-area employees why they commute the way they do, and what would encourage them to use the bus, bike, or walk to work. The results were clear: While many are interested in more transportation options like transit, biking, and walking, many felt that those options aren’t available, and if they are, they aren’t convenient.
We’re uncovering a wealth of facts and figure’s in a new brochure about our transportation habits. Stay tuned. We’ll release the new brochure next month.
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.
Michigan has few choices when it comes to raising money locally for transit. Transportation agencies can only ask voters to pitch in through local property taxes. They must rely on fewer and fewer state and federal dollars for the rest of a project’s cost. Michigan lawmakers must stop holding its cities back. Our towns can start meeting their transportation needs without waiting for the state to solve the state transportation crisis.