Transportation Enhancements do pay for things such as museums and small bridges, but they also cover such things as bicycle pathways, and trails which can be used for commuting. These enhancements have provided bridges with separate walkways for pedestrians, and creation and improvements to rail-trails, among other things. People need to broaden the narrow-minded view that surface transportation is only about highways, specifically highways which can be built where thousands of people live.
Transportation Enhancement funds cannot be used to build or repair roads. In Michigan, the Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for TE fund distribution. The program allows cities, villages, counties, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and MDOT to use this source of federal aid funds to fund non-traditional transportation projects.
Ten percent of the Surface Transportation Funds from the federal government are to be set aside for Transportation Enhancement Projects. If Michigan were to choose not to fund Transportation Enhancement projects, those funds would be made available to other states and Michigan residents would lose out on the benefits afforded by use of the funds here in Michigan.
In 2007 and to date for 2008, the following projects in Western Michigan were funded:
- Antrim County MDOT will construct 8-foot wide paved shoulders along a six mile stretch of US-31 from Barnes Road, three miles south of Torch Lake Village, to Old Dixie Highway, one mile north of Eastport. This project has high regional significance as a cycling route, connecting Traverse City and Petoskey. Construction is expected in 2008.
- Benzie County The Benzie County Road Commission will construct 5.2 miles of paved shoulders to accommodate bicycles on Platte Road (CR-706) from US-31 and M-22 in Benzonia Township in Benzie County. This project will provide a non-motorized transportation link between M-22 and US-31.
- Grand Traverse County MDOT, in partnership with Acme Township, will construct landscaping enhancements at the US-31/M-72 intersection including include colored, stamped concrete sidewalks, trees, landscape plantings and sod.
MDOT, in partnership with the Village of Kingsley, will construct a streetscape project on M-113 in downtown Kingsley. Improvements include patterned colored concrete, sidewalk accents, contrasting patterned colored concrete pedestrian crosswalks, park benches, trash receptacles, planters, bike racks, decorative street lighting, trees and cast iron tree grates. Construction is expected in 2008.
- Kent County The Kent County Road Commission, in partnership with Grand Rapids Charter Township, will construct a 3.5 mile trail from the Ada/Cascade Trail systems near Ada Drive at Forest Hill Avenue to Fulton Street, and will also include construction of the trail along Crahen Avenue from Canterwood Drive to Leonard Street and along Leonard Street to the existing trail at Winter Woods Drive. Construction is expected to begin in 2008.
The City of Cedar Springs will construct the Northland Drive Pathway, from Cedar Street south to the Cedar Springs Middle School driveway, approximately 3,200 feet of 10-foot-wide non-motorized bituminous path, on the east side of Northland Drive.
The Kent County Road Commission, in partnership with Ada Township, will construct approximately 2,860 linear feet of 10-foot wide asphalt non-motorized trail along the east side of Thornapple River Drive from the Cascade Township boundary north to Buttrick Avenue, providing an important inter-connection between the coordinated trail networks of Ada and Cascade Townships.
The City of Kentwood will landscape along one mile of 44th Street from Breton Avenue to Shaffer Avenue. The landscaping will consist of high canopy trees, low ornamental trees, and flowering shrubs.
The Kent County Road Commission, in partnership with the Cutlerville Chamber of Commerce, Gaines Charter Township, and Byron Township will implement a streetscape along Division Avenue between 68th and 76th streets. Streetscape elements include decorative brick pavers, decorative post-top street lights, benches, litter receptacles, street trees and planting pots.
The city of Grand Rapids will reconstruct the brick street and install streetscape amenities on Cherry Street between Hollister and Warren avenues to beautify the Fairmont Square Historic District in Grand Rapids. Project elements include brick pavement, street trees and landscaping, and ornamental street lighting.
- Mecosta County MDOT, in partnership with the Village of Remus, will install aesthetic and pedestrian friendly improvements. The streetscape project will enhance the crossroads and the central business district corridor by adding amenities such as lights, benches and planter pots. This project will also connect Historical Museum with the existing sidewalks within the village.
- Muskegon County The City of Norton Shores will construct approximately 1.2 miles of five-foot wide bituminous shoulders along both sides of Porter and Martin roads from Henry Street to Sternberg Road. This will connect the existing bike path system along Porter Road and Henry Street to the existing bike path on Stemberg Road.
The Michigan Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, will install fencing along US-31, adjacent to the Muskegon River and Cedar Creek in Muskegon County, to reduce the number of vehicle-caused turtle mortalities on US-31. The fence will redirect the turtles to safe crossing locations at designated underpasses free of vehicle traffic.
by Joan H. Young
See Transportation Enhancement Funding - Source and Eligible Uses
See MDOT Transportation Enhancements
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