As summer (unfortunately) draws to a close, we would like to take a moment to provide an update of what’s new here at Trans4M. Our coalition has taken advantage of the summer legislative break to re-evaluate our policy priorities and create two new policy campaigns. Trans4M’s core members are always on top of the latest developments in Michigan’s transportation conversation and we are constantly evolving and responding to the political landscape and communities’ needs.
For those who may need a refresher, Trans4M is a statewide coalition dedicated to creating a 21st century comprehensive transportation system across Michigan through policy reform. We are a diverse group with members from nonprofits, businesses, policy makers, environmental groups, planners, academic institutions and others. Our four policy priorities are (1) Funding Reform, (2) Complete Streets, (3) Regional Transit and (4) Rail. Each of our new policy campaigns falls within one of our previously defined policy priorities; however, each of our new campaigns works to tackle issues that we haven’t yet delved into over our short three-year life span.
Our new policy campaigns are described below:
The shareMIroads campaign is very self explanatory – it’s all about helping Michiganders learn to better share our roads among many different modes of transport. The campaign falls under the Complete Streets policy priority with a goal to increase awareness and support for “share the road” principles among Michigan drivers and bicyclists. The campaign will primarily focus on education for the public, but also aims to work with Michigan law enforcement, Michigan Department of State, driver’s education instructors and elected officials. The biggest challenge of this campaign will be to engage drivers in a way that helps them recognize the inherent vulnerability of bicyclists using the roadways. Watch for updates from us about this campaign’s developing website, Facebook page and upcoming events. This campaign is being lead by our core member organization League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB).
Michigan by Rail
The Michigan by Rail policy campaign has a long-term goal to establish passenger transportation service through the Holland-Grand Rapids-Lansing-Detroit corridor, which has been left to a fragmented intercity bus system since its connecting rail service ended in the 1970s. The immediate focus for this campaign will be to complete a passenger transportation feasibility study and build support for passenger rail transportation through this corridor. The campaign team will work to build support and eventually form partnerships for the project with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The policy team will also aim to work with legislators, businesses, and organizations in the corridor. Watch for updates from this policy team on their already established Facebook page and website. This policy team is being led by our core member organizations Michigan Environment Council (MEC) and the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP).
As Trans4M continues to evolve as a coalition, we will continue to push the limits on transportation policy. A stronger, modern comprehensive transportation system is necessary to strengthen Michigan’s economy, create more livable neighborhoods, and provide equitable opportunities for all.
Written by Liz Treutel, Trans4M Fellow.