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.
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Mike Moskos on Event: Donald Shoup-The Godfather of Eliminating Required Parking
- Matthew Toro on ‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Adam Old on ‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Mike arias on County Announces New Vision for Pedestrians and Cyclists: Vision Zero 305
- Matthew Toro on Commercial Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- ivo on County Announces New Vision for Pedestrians and Cyclists: Vision Zero 305
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
- Which Way, Dallas? April 20, 2014Architecture critic Mark Lamster describes Dallas as a city at a defining moment in its history. He poses the following questions: “What are our goals, and how do we achieve them? What exactly do we want Dallas to be?”
- Ranking the Most Resilient Cities April 20, 2014Resilience has entered into the planning and urbanism lexicon as a large challenge for all places pursuing prosperous, sustainable futures. A new study examines the world’s leading cities for lessons in resilience.
- Biking Boom Takes to the Sidewalks April 20, 2014The city of Santiago, Chile offers a cautionary tale for cities amidst a biking boom that don’t rethink the mode balance on their streets: there’s nowhere for bikers to go except the sidewalk.
- Finding Authenticity April 20, 2014The coveted creative class is in search of neighborhoods and communities with lots of character. Why are such places so hard to find? Maybe it is because we are trying too hard.
- Billboards, Big Money, and (Political) Blight April 20, 2014Planners typically pay attention to the Supreme Court when a Fifth Amendment case, like Kelo v. New London, comes along. The recent McCutcheon decision is a case in which the court could have paid attention to planners.
- Study: Active Commutes Correlate to Positive Public Health Outcomes April 20, 2014The Alliance for Biking and Walking’s 2014 Benchmarking report found a strong correlation between active commuting rates and health outcomes like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
- The Urban Reordering: Can the United States Make it Stick? April 20, 2014The trend toward the urban has been documented from every possible angle, but a recent op-ed wonders whether it will be possible for the federal government to make a course correction that ceases the endless subsidies for the suburbs.
- Seattle’s Cap on Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar Rescinded by Referendum April 19, 2014After Seattle Citizens to Repeal Ordinance 124441 acquired twice the necessary number of signatures necessary to send a March ordinance capping the number of Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar drivers in the city, the mayor will negotiate with the companies.
- The Economics Behind Crude by Rail April 19, 2014Sure, it costs more than moving by pipeline—double or triple the price per barrel. But look at the speed: five days versus 40. A new rail terminal in Beaumont, Texas sheds light on the economics that make CBR attractive to shippers and refineries.
- Enough with the Parking Garages: Baltimore's Inner Harbor Redo Criticized April 19, 2014The first step in the transformation of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a proposed renovation of Rash Field. But one commentator sees the subterranean parking garage included in conceptual plans as more of the same car-domination.
- Which Way, Dallas? April 20, 2014