Category Archives: Transportation

Lawmakers eye electric vehicles for road money

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Republican state lawmakers are looking to drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles as a potential source of more road funds. But environmental groups say now is not the time to make alternative fuel cars more expensive.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are already more expensive than fossil-fuel-powered cars and trucks, which also means higher sales taxes and registration fees. Continue reading

House committee begins road funding hearings

A special state House committee has begun deliberations on how to find more than $1 billion for roads and transportation. That’s after voters overwhelmingly said “no” to the Legislature’s last plan on the May ballot.

House Republican leaders say they want a solution in hand in less than a month. They say the plan is to search for savings and efficiencies before tackling the tougher questions about raising revenue. Continue reading

Snyder, lawmakers sort through Proposal 1 wreckage

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Voters said no Tuesday to Proposal One by a margin of almost four-to-one. But, as unhappy as people were with the ballot question, they’re still unhappy with the state of Michigan’s roads. So Governor Rick Snyder and lawmakers say they’ll go back to work on finding money for roads – and they will heed the lessons of Proposal One. Continue reading

Voters reject Snyder road funding ballot proposal

voters-turn-out-for-michigan-primary-elections-c238bfa5496bdcccMichigan voters have soundly rejected Proposal One — Governor Rick Snyder’s two (b) billion dollar plan to fund road repairs without siphoning money from schools and local governments.

The loss sends the governor and the Legislature back to the bargaining table because almost everyone still agrees the roads are bad.
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Voters to decide fate of Proposal One and road funding

rick-snyder-mugjpg-446cf7790e6a2ea6Since January, Governor Rick Snyder has been traveling the state with his rock collection – more accurately, hunks of concrete, asphalt, and brick from crumbling roads and bridges.

“This is a piece of Michigan road,” he says he holds up a chunk of concrete twice as big as his fist. “This is the kind of thing that can fall on your vehicle or go through your windshield. That’s scary folks.”
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Paws for Freedom: one dog’s rescue story from Iran to Saginaw

Captain
Pets take on roles; they’re family members, best friends and sometimes – targets.

Captain has been all three. Today he lives with a family in Saginaw. He was adopted out of Iran. A place where dogs have been outlawed for over thirty years.

Jeff Popovich tells us about Captain, his new family and his remarkable journey:

Despite missing a leg, Captain runs effortlessly to greet, Reza Saffarian.

Saffarian is an Iranian-born American citizen who adopted Captain from his home country two years ago.

He said, “We are just happy to be able to help an animal that had probably been put down overseas if that was not, you know if that was not for the circumstances.”

Dogs have been outlawed in Iran since the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s.

It wasn’t until 2004 the country’s first ever animal shelter was founded. It’s called Vafa. That means loyalty in Farsi, the official Persian language in Iran.

Saffarian said animal activist groups like Vafa have been busy trying to improve the fate of dogs in Iran.

He said, “They were instrumental in identifying these dogs and bringing them in, and sheltering these animals.”

The shelter adopts dogs to safe homes in other countries through their website.

Saffarian said, “We were able to look on their website, read the stories of these dogs, and be able to hook up some of these dogs and he was one of those few, and I think they would tell you that, he was one of the few fortunate dogs to be able to get adopted out of nearly 500 dogs.”

Saffarian decided on Captain because he says he felt the dog would be overlooked by other families looking to adopt because he is missing a leg.

He got in touch with the Vafa representative who handles adoptions to the US.

A few weeks later Captain was on a plane to Boston.

Once he was in the US, his journey continued to Saginaw through a volunteer group called The Liberty Train.

That’s an all volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing and transporting animals to homes across the country.

Laura Harper is transport coordinator and founder of The Liberty Train.

She said, “We get drivers to pick up a dog at one location then they transport them to the next location and pass them off to the next driver and so on and so forth until they get where they’re going.”

Harper said it’s a humbling experience working with so many people that are so willing to help.

She said, “When I get to the end of the week and I know that I’ve got wonderful people like Team Iran and Team US/Canada or the Vafa shelter and all the other rescues that we work with it fills my heart. It keeps me going knowing that there are good people out there.”

Back in Saginaw, Reza Saffarian said he’s grateful to all the people who were involved in Captain’s rescue and transport.

When Captain arrived, the Saffarians were concerned about his stump. It had not been properly amputated when he was still in Iran.

Saffarian said, “So we put him through a surgery shortly after we got him, and ever since I think he has…his life has taken for the better.”

Since his rescue, Captain has adapted to the English language.

He’s also picked up on things that American dogs take for granted, like climbing stairs and even playing with toys.

Saffarian said, “We are delighted…we are really delighted. And I think somehow he appreciates that too you know you saw how he comes to the door and greets us, and how he sticks by me. I think he understands that maybe he is somewhat lucky.”

Captain went from being a target on the streets of Iran to a full fledged Saffarian family member.

Aside from being one lucky dog, Captain’s journey is one example that possibilities are endless.

ON THE WEB

Vafa Animal Shelter
http://vafashelter.com/main/


The Liberty Train
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Liberty-Train-and-Rescue/161898060592344

Senate adopts no-fault overhaul

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The Michigan Senate has taken a first step toward overhauling the state’s auto no-fault system. The measures are aimed at making rates more affordable – especially in urban areas — by containing costs for insurance companies.
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New Great Lakes cruise liner to embark this summer

Above is the M.S. Saint Laurent's expected travel route from Montreal to Chicago. Graphic courtesy of the Great Lakes Cruise Company.

Above is the M.S. Saint Laurent’s expected travel route from Montreal to Chicago. Graphic courtesy of the Great Lakes Cruise Company.


Cruises across the Great Lakes are slowly becoming a part of the region’s culture, and new offerings are promising travelers a journey not just across the lakes, but also through time.
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Audit slams MDOT over road warranties

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A new report from the state auditor general takes the Michigan Department of Transportation to task. The report examines a warranty program to hold construction companies responsible for the quality of the roads they build. It says the state doesn’t follow up often enough with contractors to ensure problems are fixed. Continue reading