Its time to call your congressional representative and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 7. The legislation, approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would cost Michigan $217 million in funding over the next five years!
Aside from losing precious funds to rebuild our roads and bridges, the bill puts funding for public transit in harms way by removing it from the protection of the Highway Trust Fund first instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. HR 7 would make funding for public transit subject to a general fund appropriation.
The bill also eliminates funding for the Safe Routes to School program and all federal requirements that states spend 10% of their highway funding on alternative transportation projects (CMAQ), that work to make our communities and neighborhoods more walkable and safer. Recent studies show that property values are higher and maintain their value in better in such areas. Instead the committee chose to leave it to state DOT’s to decide which of these projects should be funded.
The committee also eliminated funding for the TIGER program which has been used by local units in Michigan and across the country as a direct source of funding for merit based, innovative projects to improve local and regional transportation systems.
A vote is expected on this legislation soon and while we need a long term transportation bill from he Congress, this is not the way to move the process along! The League has already sent a letter to the Michigan Congressional delegation. Now we need your voice to be heard. Please call and tell your congressman to vote NO!
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.