Metropolitan Planning Council
Michigan Dept. of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle lays the groundwork for the panel discussion.
The share of Michigan’s roads in poor condition increased from 12 percent a decade ago to more than 30 percent today, a stunning fact described by Michigan Dept. of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s roundtable on Friday, March 20, sponsored by Freedman Seating Company.
In his presentation, Director Steudle emphasized that the poor condition of roadways in Michigan has everything to do with a lack of adequate funding for transportation in his state—and he noted that poorly maintained roads mean more damage to personal vehicles, more congestion and reduced quality of life. He is currently leading an initiative in Michigan to increase funds dedicated to transportation investment.
Of course, inadequate infrastructure maintenance is hardly a problem reserved to Michigan. In Illinois, more than half of residents experience some problem with the transportation system on a weekly basis, and it’s a national problem, as profiled recently by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. When I asked roundtable attendees whether they’d run into potholes while driving or biking, or whether they’d been delayed on a train due to poor signals or mechanical issues, virtually everyone raised their hand:
The Metropolitan Planning Council’s Accelerate Illinois initiative, which is being conducted in association with AARP, Active Transit, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and others, is designed to address these issues that keep us from getting from A to B in a timely fashion by identifying new state funding for transportation.
Panelists at the roundtable, including Chicago Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Leanne Redden and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Deputy Executive Director Tom Kotarac, agreed that our local transportation agencies are being asked to do too much with too little. Indeed, the City of Chicago, the Illinois Dept. of Transportation and many county agencies are investing in the maintenance of our roads and transit, but they need more support to address the transportation woes too many people experience on a daily basis. Help then help you by signing on to Accelerate Illinois today!
Watch the full roundtable below: