Below are some interesting excerpts from Gubernatorial Candidate Sink's Transportation Plan that was released earlier today.
- As Governor, Alex Sink will make smart choices for improving our transportation system. Alex will start with ensuring that transportation revenues are stabilized. Alex will fight to protect state transportation funding sources that the Florida Legislature has raided for other programs. She will show leadership by demanding that Washington provide Florida a larger share of federal funds. She will work to build Florida's high-speed rail system, expand commuter rail networks and ensure transit, bicycle and pedestrian connectivity. Alex will better promote our seaports and airports and find ways to produce jobs in the aerospace industry as the space shuttle program winds down.
- Incorporate more trails, bicycle paths, bike lanes and pedestrian facilities into transportation planning. Bicycling or walking to work and as leisure activities not only reduce congestion but provide numerous health and environmental benefits. The FDOT reports that 66 percent of our state highway system has bicycle lanes or paths. Studies also show more people are bicycling and walking than ever before. Alex believes in developing more bike and pedestrian friendly facilities and will ensure representation of these interests on the FDOT's leadership planning committees, including the Strategic Intermodal System planning group. Florida is known for its award-winning Greenways and Trails program. Alex will support these "active transportation" programs and work to ensure that rail and transit facilities are easily accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians
- Encourage innovative solutions for transportation needs. Alex will encourage regional transportation planners to develop innovative projects that address congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more livable communities. She will create a pilot program that allows transportation proposals for roads, transit and seaports from across the state to compete for grant funding from a special transportation pool set aside for innovative projects.
- Stopping the raids on Florida's highway trust funds. The Florida Legislature diverted $160 million from the state's highway trust fund in the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget it presented to Gov. Charlie Crist, who vetoed the cut. The fund is used to support the FDOT's transportation improvement and maintenance program; the cut would have eliminated over 11,000 jobs in the transportation industry. As Governor, Alex will veto efforts by the Florida Legislature to raid this funding source and ensure that it is spent only on transportation projects.
- Another serious safety concern is distracted driving, which national studies have shown is on the rise and causes thousands of fatal accidents each year. Alex supports laws that would prohibit sending text messages while driving and restrict the use of cell phones by truck and bus drivers except in emergencies. Alex will make these safety initiatives an integral part of her transportation agenda.
- As Governor, Alex also will seek to expand the percentage of federal safety funds that FDOT spends on bicycle and pedestrian safety programs. Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities represent 21.4% of all Florida traffic deaths yet less than 5% -- about $4 million -- of federal highway safety funding is spent on bike and pedestrian safety for the entire state. Even a modest increase could help boost safety outreach efforts.
- Florida's rail system defined the development of this state. But in recent history, the focus has been on road projects at the expense of improving our rail system. As road traffic congestion worsens and awareness grows concerning the environmental damage caused by carbon emissions from vehicles, more alternative forms of transportation are necessary and wise investments.
- Alex Sink will think comprehensively when it comes to Florida's transportation system. Our highways, roads, rails, trails, airports, seaports, and even aerospace industries must be innovative and integrated. Alex will require that transportation improvements meet these criteria.