News & Views » Columns

Blacktop down

by

comment

Arriving just in time to dovetail nicely with this week’s cover story (“Across the great divide,” page 10), a report jointly produced by the National Wildlife Federation and the Center for Environment & Population has landed on the News Hits desk. The study looks at population growth and land use here in Michigan. You’ve no doubt heard of the term “smart growth.” Well, here in the Wolverine State, what we’re practicing could best be defined as “dumb growth.” For the sake of a little elbow room, we’re gobbling up valuable farm land, extending commute times, adding to global warming and in general screwing things up.

Here’s just one eye-opening stat: “Longer commutes and driving on congested highways in Metropolitan Detroit alone cost state motorists $2 billion a year in burned fuel and wasted time.”

And that was before the price of wasted time hit $3 a gallon.

Even though Michigan’s population is growing at slow rate, we’re rapidly consuming farmland. In fact, land development is occurring eight times faster than the population grows, according to the report. The state ranks ninth in the nation in terms of ag land lost to development.

You can view the full report on the Web at cepnet.org.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact this column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.