The Florida Department of Transportation isn’t just anti-bicycling and walking road safety programs in Florida, they are against funding them anywhere.
On March 14, just days after bicycling advocates went to Congress asking them to not cut fundingfor bicycling programs (Bike Coalition Director and members among over 20 others from Florida, 600 countrywide) the State of Florida sent its own representative to tell Congress to do just the opposite.
Mr. Ananth Prasad is one of the three candidates up for Governor Rick Scott’s consideration as the new State Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation. He currently holds the title of Assistant Secretary for Engineering & Operations, making him the only ‘in-house’ option. (The other two are Gordon Goodin, owner of Bayside Development, and Thomas Conrecode, VP at Collier Enterprise).
Mr. Prasad spoke on behalf of FDOT/ Governor Scott’s interests at a special hearing before the United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Committee, chaired by Florida’s own Rep. John Mica, is drafting a new transportation bill and thus seeking input from stakeholders across the country. What did our own FDOT representative say? Read the full text of his speech here[PDF].
Some of the items Prasad touched on were clearly positive for Florida, such as his request for more transportation money for Florida, a ‘donor’ state that sends out more gas tax money than it gets back from the federal government. He called for increased investment in public-private partnerships , citing the I-595 Express project and the Port of Miami Tunnel as examples. While that may support Rick Scott’s call for more private sector jobs, there was no mention of the innovative public-private partnerships that would have come about from High Speed Rail or bikeshare.
Other requests clearly reflected Governor Scott’s agenda. Prasad supported Scott’s push for fewer regulations by calling for removal of some regulations that he called unnecessary for Florida and by requesting that states be allowed to skip the federal environmental review process and substitute their own. In the midst of calling for a reduction in the number of federal transportation programs, Prasad proclaimed:
“We must give serious consideration to whether—when resources and dollars are at a premium—spending money on sidewalks, bike trails, beautification, and other projects like this is the most prudent use of taxpayer money.“
Wow. Forget about the “Complete Streets” mandate embedded in Florida Statute that FDOT has to include pedestrian and bicycle facilities into their projects. Nevermind that new bicycling facilities create twice as many jobs as standard road repair work and make streets safer for ALL road users.The way to fuel the economy, according to FDOT, is to move cars faster:
“The faster we can move people and goods to their destination, the faster our economy will grow … We must be viligent to ensure that we invest only where taxpayers’ money will be put to use on critically-needed projects that will ultimately grow our economy.”
Prasad’s message is clear: Times are tough, so let’s forget about multimodal transportation and focus on automobile capacity. Congress needs to be reminded that as gas prices head toward $4 for the second time in three years, more people are choosing to bike or walk. This makes it critical to invest transportation dollars in safer roads for everyone, rather than just faster highways. (You will remember that FDOT considers Miami’s densest residential street and it’s busiest downtown avenue, highways.)
Florida: we cannot build our way out of congestion. We need a versatile transportation system that embraces intercity rail, urban transit, bicycling, and walking as well as the currently privileged modes.
If we can put aside the political agendas and focus on effective investment, we would see that non-highway options, like high speed rail and bikeshare, provide what Prasad says DOTs want: public-private partnerships. The Tampa-Orlando high speed rail was expected to turn a $10.2 million profit, a lucrative opportunity for private investment in infrastructure. DecoBike, a private enterprise which seems to have gotten off to a good start, has not cost the city of Miami Beach a dime and is even sharing revenue with them. B-Cycle‘s proposed system for Broward County won’t cost taxpayers any money once it’s up and running, and their business model depends on turning a profit from the system as well. FDOT is already involved in this public-private partnership, fronting the capital through a grant to the county, then leaving the private vendor to run the system. Florida can support systems such as these by providing both capital investment to get the systems started and by providing proper infrastructure to encourage more system users. Check out the Sun-Sentinel article for more details on both programs.
The South Florida Bike Coalition joins us in urging you to take action. Members of Congress, Governor Scott, FDOT need to hear from you that you want cost-effective solutions to Florida’s #1 ranking as the Country’s most dangerous place to walk or ride a bicycle.
Also: Please take a moment to contact Rep. Mica — his staff on transportation — or his office via phone at (202) 225-4035. Let him know that you want Complete Streets in the next transportation bill and that you support federal mandates that ensure investments in our roads will make them safer and better for EVERYone, whether they travel by bicycle, train, bus, car, truck or on foot.
This will be a cross-post with our partner, the South Florida Bike Coalition.
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
South Florida Transportation
- Bike SoMi
- Emerge Miami
- Florida Bicycle Association
- Florida Department of Transportation
- Florida Greenbook Roadway Design Manual
- Green Mobility Network
- Miami Bike Report
- Miami-Dade BPAC
- Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
- Miami-Dade Transit
- Slow Bike Miami
- Spokes 'n' Folks
- State of Florida Bike/Ped Laws
- TACOLCY Bicycle Club
- The M-Path to Enlightenment
- The Miami Bike Scene
- Transit to MIA
- Tri-Rail (South Florida Regional Transportation Authority)
Transit Blogs and Resources
- Trains For America
- The Transport Politic
- Metro Library and Archive Transportation Headlines
- Spacing Wire • understanding the urban landscape
- JACKSONVILLE TRANSIT
- CoolTown Studios
- Design New Haven
- Human Transit
- Midwest High Speed Rail
- The Overhead Wire
- public transit
- City Transit Advocates
- Portland Transport
- Off the Kuff
- Greater Greater Washington
- Welcome to the FastLane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary
- Transit In Utah
- Buildings and Food
- CTA Tattler
South Florida Blogosphere
- 305 Misadventures
- Beached Miami
- BRICKELL LIFE
- Buildings and Food
- Coconut Grove Grapevine
- Coral Gables
- Coral Gables Watch
- Dolce Miami
- Eye On Miami
- Hallandale Beach Blog
- Herald Watch
- HOMESTEAD IS HOME
- JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
- Liam Crotty Photography
- Miami beach 411
- Miami Every Day Photo
- Miami Fever
- Miami For Change
- Miami Urbanist
- Michael Emilio
- Photography is Not a Crime
- REV Miami – Music, Art, Events, and Counter-Culture Magazine
- Riptide 2.0
- South Beach Hoosier
- South Florida Bike Coalition
- South Florida Daily Blog
- Urban City Architecture
- Urban Environment League
- View from Virginia Key
- What Miami
Planning and Design Resources
Subscribe via Email
- Pili on Lost Vision? Miami-Dade Transit 40 Years On . . .
- Matthew Toro on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- Ashley Jimenez on Sun-Rail & Florida’s High-Speed Rail Future
- xxs on Lost Vision? Miami-Dade Transit 40 Years On . . .
- Matthew Toro on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- Gables on Worth a Reminder: County Transportation Summit
- Syracuse Confronts 'Most Important Civic Decision in 60 Years' May 20, 2013To demolish, or not to demolish? As Syracuse considers what to do with its aged elevated highway, special interests are mobilizing to prevent tearing down the crumbling I-81 viaduct and replacing it with an urban boulevard, says David M. Rubin. […]
- 54 Arts Projects Awarded Creative Placemaking Grants May 20, 2013ArtPlace America has announced the 54 recipients (out of over 1200 applicants) for its most recent round of creative placemaking grants. The $15.2 million in grants will support projects in 44 communities and a statewide project in Connecticut. […]
- Minister Reins in Mumbai's Haphazard Development Controls; Will the City's Skyline Suffer? May 20, 2013The chief minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra (home to Mumbai) is pushing to rationalize the region's density controls, which had been prone to abuse by developers. Some fear the controls will result in more homogenous designs. […]
- Poverty's Sprawling Tentacles May 20, 2013From 2000-2011 the number of poor Americans living in the suburbs increased at a rate double that of the country's cities. The result is that more poor people now live in the suburbs than in cities. A new book examines this troubling trend. […]
- 10 Exemplary Approaches to Station Integration May 20, 2013Different contexts call for different approaches to inserting new transit stations into existing urban environments. From iconic statement to net-zero depot, Ron Nyren looks at 10 stations built recently in cities across the world. […]
- The Urban Diary as a City-Dweller's Tool May 20, 2013Chuck Wolfe champions the 'urban diary' tool as a universal means to understand the city around us. […]
- Rush to Rebuild Could Cause Long-Term Damage to NY/NJ Beaches May 20, 2013Just seven months ago Hurricane Sandy damaged 94 percent of New Jersey's beaches and eroded dozens of miles of coastline in New York. As waterfront communities rush to rebuild before summer, some fear disastrous long-term consequences. […]
- How Miami Lost Its Way to a Transit-Rich Future May 20, 2013Forty years ago, Dade County officials sketched a vision for a paradigm shift away from highways and towards a multi-model transportation system for the area. Four decades onward, highway expansion is alive and well in Miami-Dade. What happened? […]
- Cities Gain a Brain; But Will They Lose Their Souls? May 20, 2013In the quest to improve efficiency and effectiveness, "smart" technologies are helping cities become more intelligent machines. But a growing chorus fears the side effects of increased privatization, surveillance, and technological sophistication. […]
- Train Derailment Halts America's Busiest Train Line May 20, 2013A Friday evening collision between two Metro-North trains near Fairfield, Conn. injured 60 people, 5 of them critically. It's not known when service will be restored along the busiest train line in the nation. […]
- Syracuse Confronts 'Most Important Civic Decision in 60 Years' May 20, 2013
- An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.