Roads for all
Thank you for your recent article: "Pedaling influence" (June 2). The article calls attention to walking and bicycling demands in society and how complete streets policies address it. I appreciate your interest in bringing these issues into the public debate.
As demonstrated in the article, more and more people are enjoying the benefits of bicycling and more people would cycle if they felt safer on the roads. The great people of this state pay the vehicle license and registration fees, gas taxes and sales taxes which are used to build Michigan roads. People in Michigan want to use their money to build safe roads that they can use when they are in and out of their car. The Complete Streets legislation I am working on ensures that all future transportation projects will consider all users of the roads, not just motorists.
Also mentioned in article, the County Road Association of Michigan, which represents county road commissions, is opposed to the legislation. They state that this is an unfunded mandate. This is false. The bill provides them a lot of discretion and cost exemptions.
What they fail to recognize is that this is a request from the owners of the roads; they want MDOT and road commissions to build roads that can be used for more than one purpose. Now, a "complete street" in Detroit is not going to be the same as a "complete street" in Frankfort. The bill does not require all the roads to have bike lanes or specific pedestrian crossings. This is not a cookie-cutter project approach, which might require some extra planning for road commissions, since it seems that is how they build roads. All we want is for a Complete Streets policy to be another check on the list that engineers and planners go through in their transportation projects.
We must find ways to revive our state and economy, and one way to do that is to make Michigan's communities and roads walkable and bikeable. —Jon Switalski, state Representative, House District 25, Warren
Is it taxes? Or is it our priorities?
In a letter to you, in the Metro Times issued today (June 2), a writer asked the question "Can't concern about spending and high taxes be a legitimate political opinion held by an intelligent, rational citizen?"
Of course it can. However, the facts of the matter are that, in 2008, the latest year for which I could dredge up comparative tax rates, the state of Michigan ranked 27th when compared to all other states. As far as federal taxes are concerned, the tax rates are the lowest that they've been since 1950.
Since the writer is so concerned about high taxes, I wonder why he didn't address the defense spending? We've just reached $1 trillion in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. Certainly far more of his taxes go toward defense spending than toward schools or government bureaucrats, two areas he complained about.
Intelligent conversation is always welcome; however, so is honesty. —Don Handy, Mount Clemens
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