By Brian McGrain, Associate Director/Chief Operating Officer for CEDAM
This past week, Jessica AcMoody and I took part in a two-day long retreat with the Transportation for Michigan coalition, otherwise known as Trans4M. Trans4M is a statewide coalition working to create a stronger Michigan through transportation policy reform that will revitalize Michigan’s cities and towns, reconnect its people to opportunity, and spark a healthier economy. Trans4M coalition partners include nonprofits, businesses, policy makers, environmental groups, planners, academic institutions and others; groups such as the Michigan Environmental Council, Transit Riders United, the Michigan Municipal League, and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance are among the partners at the table. CEDAM has been a member of the coalition since its inception some 18 months ago.
Coalition members share a common vision for the work of Trans4M. This vision is that Michigan residents will be able to use a full range of transportation choices to easily and safely get from home to work, school, or shopping. Our citizens will have choices that include rail, bus, automobile, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streets; these will not only reduce household transportation costs, but will also provide businesses viable options for moving goods efficiently and more sustainably. This 21st-century transportation network will be safe, connected, convenient, and reliable.
At the retreat, we came together with our partners to evaluate our efforts thus far. One of the biggest priorities has been building a coalition of partners that share these common visions. Likewise, growing this network by incorporating others with different backgrounds, yet also having a shared vision, is key. We discussed efforts to increase this network of partners. We also talked about policy issues that we will be looking to tackle, key among these state funding priorities. Other issues involve support for complete streets policies, creation of a state infrastructure bank, and support for regional transit authorities (especially in the Detroit area).
CEDAM expects to continue to be a partner in these efforts moving forward. As transportation reform is discussed, we want to make sure that our members—and the communities and people that they serve—have a voice in these deliberations. We continue to be a voice for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, as we know they are among the ones who will benefit most from an enhanced transit system, especially one that is accessible and affordable.
To learn more about the Trans4M coalition, visit their website. Information is available on the website for your reference; you may also choose to have your organization join the effort. Additionally, we’re looking for stories that bring to life how transportation policy in Michigan impacts residents and their daily lives. It is important for communities to share local stories that provide real life examples to the policy discussions taking place in Lansing. You may also email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jessica (email@example.com) for more information on CEDAM’s connections with the coalition.