Monday, March 14, 2011

Please visit us on Facebook!

Dear Friends and Allies,

We will no longer be updating this blog regularly. For news, updates, and action alerts, please visit us at our website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Thank you for all you do to help build a more just, prosperous, and connected America!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tracking State Transportation Spending

Dear TRPT supporter:

We are really excited to present a blog from guest blogger Ya-Ting Liu of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Ya-Ting is federal advocate for Tri-State, a non-profit policy and advocacy organization that works for a more balanced and sustainable transportation network in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro regions. Ms. Liu also works as a field organizer for Transportation for America.

Francisca Porchas
TRPT National Coordinator

Guest Blog from Tri-State Transportation Campaign: Follow the Money

While transportation advocates struggle in Washington to derail the priorities that have shaped transit spending for the last 50 years, it is also important to understand how federal funding is only the first part of the transit pie.

We have learned many lessons about this work, but none comes up time and time again like the importance of tackling state transportation reform.

Read more about it at The Strategy Center

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Detroit moves transit forward!

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 25:  Former Department o...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Great new to as Detroit moves one phase closer to a light rail system for southeast Michigan.
Feds OK study of 9.3-mile Woodward light rail line

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The federal government today committed to undertake an environmental impact study of an extended light rail line in Detroit and Highland Park -- an announcement that Mayor Dave Bing called "a major milestone in making light rail a reality in Detroit."
A 9.3-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue will undergo the study, according to today's announcement by Bing.

Joining him at the news conference held at the Detroit Institute of Arts were U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick; and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Bing said a light rail system on Detroitwould offer convenient and modern transportation with a tangible economic spinoff.

Earlier this year, the city was awarded a $25-million grant to begin constructing a three-mile Woodward corridor line. The extension would run from Woodward to Eight Mile, and would allow continuous construction instead of a segment at a time.

"Today we're building on the storied tradition of Motor City innovation," said LaHood, who explained that Woodward Avenue was the first street in the nation to be paved with concrete.

The private group M-1 Rail, funded by wealthy Detroiters and charitable groups, has raised about $125 million to build a segment of rail between downtown and the New Center area, while Detroit would have to extend the line north, largely through federal funding. The cost of the 9.3-mile line is estimated around $425 million.

"You get things done when you work together, and this is an example of that," Stabenow said.

Officials said the environmental impact study should be completed within a year, and construction could begin in late 2011.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Creeping Privatization of Public Transportation

In cities across the country, local governments are making tough choices about how best to manage record transportation deficits. New York’s MTA recently announced a budget shortfall of $800 million, and this past weekend implemented a series of painful service cuts. The cuts have left many across the five boroughs looking for alternatives, and private industry is hoping to take over where the MTA left off. Entrepreneurs like Joel Azumah have opened charter van services running along many of the exact routes of discontinued MTA buses -- in open defiance of orders to cease from the city.

In Philadelphia, SEPTA’s board of directors recently approved the sale of naming rights to one of the city’s subway stations. In a deal to bring in $3.4 million over the course of five years, the city has agreed to change Pattison station to AT&T station and has said that it would consider other deals. Jerry Silverman, a former chair of SEPTA’s citizen advisory committee, warned of where this could potentially lead, “Instead of riding the Broad Street subway from City Hall to Pattison, people might soon take the Coca-Cola Line from Pizza Hut to AT&T."

Service cuts and fare hikes in public transport systems inevitably have a greater impact on low-income people, people of color, older Americans, and the disabled. Our financial crisis is real, but the solution is not forcing vulnerable Americans to navigate a patchwork of for-profit, unregulated transport systems. Investing in public transportation means investing in access to opportunity, green jobs, and energy independence. All those are things we need now more than ever.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

SEMCOG invites public comment on two strategies that will help move Southeast Michigan forward

SEMCOG invites public comment on two strategies that will help move Southeast Michigan forward

SEMCOG announces the public comment period for its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (or, CEDS) and its Sustainability Framework.

* The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy provides a framework for effectively investing the region's resources and seeking new means to diversify and reposition the economy, create jobs, strengthen and refocus our human capital, develop and promote our natural and community assets, improve our business climate, and maintain and enhance the necessary infrastructure to achieve the maximum economic impact and global competitiveness. The document meets the requirements of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which in part funded this project. The document, Increasing Jobs and Prosperity in Southeast Michigan, is available for review here and from SEMCOG's Information Center at (313) 324-3362.
* A Framework for Sustainability in Southeast Michigan brings together SEMCOG's policies and plans for economic development, transportation, infrastructure, environmental quality, neighborhood and community development, and workforce development into a single document that outlines the region's sustainability goals. With this framework, SEMCOG intends to apply for funding through HUD's new Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program on behalf of the region. This program is an opportunity to bring federal funding to Southeast Michigan to locally implement projects that contribute to regional sustainability. A summary of the framework is available for review here and from SEMCOG's Information Center at (313) 324-3362.

For those wishing to comment, please address letters to SEMCOG Information Center, 535 Griswold, Suite 300, Detroit, MI 48226; call 1-800-961-3334; send faxes to (313) 961-4869; or e-mail Comments can be made in person at the following meetings:

* Executive Committee, Thursday, May 20, 2010, 1 p.m., Ambassador Room, SEMCOG Offices (535 Griswold, Suite 300, Detroit, MI 48226); discuss and act on both items;
* General Assembly, Thursday, June 24, 2010, 2010, 4:30 p.m., Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202; discuss and adopt the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Detroit Budget Hearing May 7

Detroit Transit

Between recent news about delayed commuter trains, national broadcasts about Detroit, state budget battles, and federal announcements, you may be wondering what is really going on around Detroit transit. Perhaps you have questions or want to know how you can help.

Never fear, TRU is here with several upcoming events to provide all the latest! Read on . . .

Megan Owens, TRU Director
May 4 - Detroit Transit
at the Detroit Main Library

Join us next Tuesday evening, May 4, at 6pm at the Detroit Main Library for a presentation and discussion about all the latest on Detroit transit!

I'll provide an overview of top transit issues, update you on local, state, and federal actions, and answer all your questions.

I'll also share TRU's advocacy priorities for the next few months - key ways for you to get involved in improving Detroit transit!!

Don't miss it!
Detroit Budget Hearing
May 7

The Detroit City Council is considering the city budget, including the budget for DDOT and the People Mover. Come tell them what you think - at the budget hearing May 7 at 5:00 PM in the 13th Floor Auditorium of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

We need to have a strong showing to remind City Council about the importance of transit. Specifically, we need to inform City Council that we cannot handle any additional service cuts, which would be the result of any additional cuts to DDOT's budget.

Remember, last September DDOT riders sustained a 15% service cut. The City's investment in DDOT has been reduced by $25 million compared to the previously approved budget. Those cuts are in addition to 30% cut DDOT riders sustained in April 2005!

We need to tell City Council that jobs and the vitality of the City are on the line. We would like to work with City Council and the proposed Regional Transit Authority to find a new source for funding transit, but until then, we cannot afford to cut any more than we already have.

If you can't make the hearing on May 7, please call or email the members of City Council and tell them that transit is an essential service that has already been cut too much!

National Train Day - May 8

National Train Day celebrates America's love for trains with events across the country.

The celebration commemorates the 141st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad's inception by bringing to life the rich narrative of how trains have transformed America and will continue to do so in the future.

Join our friends at the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers at these local events:
Detroit Amtrak Station - 6:30-11:30am
Coffee and cake will be available to both passengers and guests throughout the morning.
A proclamation will be presented to the Mayor just before noon.
Ann Arbor Amtrak Station - 7-9am
Coffee and donuts will be available to both passengers and guests.
A proclamation will be read by the Mayor of Ann Arbor.
Dearborn Amtrak Station - 6:30-11:30am
Coffee and doughnuts will be provided, and a proclamation will be read by the Mayor of Dearborn.
Oakland University (Meadow Brook Hall) - 11:30am - 2:30pm
Lunch & Learn lecture about the Glancy Trains Collection at the Detroit Historical Museum, featuring John Lohmeier, President Meadow Brook Hall Squires, Meredith Long, Museum Services Coordinator of Meadow Brook Hall and Bob Cosgrove, Adjunct Curator of Glancy Trains at the Detroit Historical Museum. Complimentary tour of Meadow Brook Hall follows the lecture.

Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City
Screening, Discussion, and Action!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 18, at 6pm at the Wayne State Law School for a screening and discussion of Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City, the recent PBS documentary about Detroit transit.

Director Aaron Wolf will be on hand, along with TRU and other top advocates. Presented by Transportation Riders United, Let's Save Michigan, and Wayne State University.
Reception and Networking at 6:00 pm
Screening (highlights) at 6:30 pm
Panel Discussion at 7:00 pm
Q&A and Call-to-Action at 7:30 pm

Commuter Challenge
May 2010

Take the Challenge.

Go green. $ave Green.

Take the Commuter Challenge by trying a new way to work during the month of May.

The Commuter Challenge is a fun and exciting way to encourage carpooling and vanpooling, riding public transportation, biking and walking, and using telework and flextime benefits. Log your results and you could win many great prizes!

Register here for the 2010 Commuter Challenge

Thanks again for your interest in Detroit Transit and your patience in this exciting time.

As noted above, I'm working part time over the next few months. If you have questions and can't reach me, contact our wonderful Organizer/Assistant Director Ruth Johnsonor our fabulous volunteer project leaders.

Also, check the TRU website for more news, information, and updates!


Megan Owens
Transportation Riders United