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Everything posted by aowwt

  1. I was thinking about that myself but here is what I think GVSU is trying to do. They want to move everything but the core departments out of Allendale and into GR. The thing is that it costs money to do that. That is why they have been moving one department every couple of years. Right now I think they are close but probally have a few more that need to move out. Once they get everything moved out that they want to they will at that time start to convert a parking lot to a ramp one per year until they get all of them done. The thing is that yes ramps offer a ton more parking but they also come a handicap. You have to maintain them yearly and then they need to replaced as salt from Michigan Winters eats away at the concrete and steel. I would say ten more years and gvsu will be sitting pretty close to finishing the transition. I would like them to move the atheletics into GR but I dont think the West Side would like to see a 75k seat stadium footprint. Of course if they got approval from the DEQ and Kent County along with the EPA butterwoth could be inticing as it is all clear and would be the only open land large enough for a sport facilties that GVSU would need to go Div 1 if they decide in 10 to 20 years from now.
  2. I heard of a few Public Schools use a tunnel to get across roads. That would not take that much effort I think plus it would be quicker for the biker and ped to cross along with being easier for ADA complaince if that comes up.
  3. The interesting thing is how Grand Rapids City is going play this out. They can be hurt bad or given good on this. What I talking about is the 3/4 of a million dollars of taxable value that will be HISTORY if GVSU takes over that property. Now here is the thing, even though they lose the taxable value they should see a big increase in the income tax they collect with I would say 30 prof at 75k a peice with a .65 or .75% tax rate or even higher if they live in the city for a shorter commute. That is gonna be the trade off here. BTW the tax rate for property is some wheres around 8 mills for property (2008 numbers). Now I am not sure where the DDA in Grand rapids has their borders but that could also play a factor as well. I am unsure if the DDA collects income tax or if they just collect property. If it is just property and the DDA has this building in their zone the GR city should be jumping for joy as it would pull money from the DDA to the City which can use every they need with the state cutting budgets to the cities left and right.
  4. I say GVSU can go ahead with ED. I initally was upset that GVSU was going to go that route but after reading that just a minute ago on Mlive, a link from yahoo local, it was fine by me to see GVSU to go that route. Frankly I like them to get for 100k less to pay for the 3rd party for their work.
  5. Well my uncle does transplants for Kidney's and if I am not mistaken its only his group that he works for and the U of M that does the others. So I am pretty sure they had to go through the same people and they got one. I would think that with the aspect that VAI was given a small amount of the tobacco settlement that was also given to Ford and U of M that some pressure could be put to bare if they start to balk. On top of that MSU and U of M are active in the GR region so it would not be good to lose the support of this area.
  6. It must be the water. I can not believe that the grains in the beer or mixture can create this result. And by means of water I do mean our very clean and very tasty lake michigan pumped water.
  7. Headline on Yahoo. Mich. great-grandmothers become bowling champions.
  8. I think Velosie was saying that the Target/Costco place needs another good bussiness to tie everything together so it does not look like a waste of concrete.
  9. Yeap and good riddence. Give us something better than a glorified ink selling ripoff place. I been in there quite a few times and frankly its been going down hill every time. In anycase the parking lot for the Wyoming Village mall should be getting a new surface (my truck is starting to feel those potholes a little too much). The Village Mall has been getting better tennants lately. Ones that will stay put and not close any time soon. They still need to replace the old Pizza place but outside of that one vaccancy the rest of the front is filled in except for the recent store closing. The back side needs some help and the place next door could use a Walmart or Meijer. But there has been zero info so far on Meijer and Studio 28.
  10. I agree with you that we do not want to see us get to the point of LA or Atlanta. A mess is not what we want for our highways. Although I am a road geek I do want to see our concrete monuments to be limited in scope. I do wonder if it would be benifical to have a light rail line run from Holland to the airport directly or would just a line running on Michigan corridor be better. By means of corridor is probally the back side of all of the developments and I-196. If we were to get a street car system then a light rail running on Michigan would work better but I do not see anything at this time. BTW if the ITP were to hold a Light Rail vote for GR and if EGR were to vote yes were would you place the station for that city? I think blodgett would be the best place but would it work is my question?
  11. Alex I like your idea in regards to limiting the freeways in the Grand Region. How about this for the proposal. US 131 from M6 to I-96 can be no more than 3 lanes with a weave-merge lane. I-196 from I-96 to US 31 (bypass freeway) 3 lanes with a weave merge lane. M-6, I-96, and US 31 except in Muskegon or Holland can be no more than 2 lanes with a weave merge lane. For those that do not know what a weave-merge lane is, well it is a lane that begins at the end of entrence ramp and ends at an exit ramp off the freeway. I would also like to point out that when the interchanges at 36th, Burton, Hall, Franklin, and Wealthy are rebuilt in the near future we need to get them to build them as Single Point Urban Interchanges. That will allow a better traffic flow on top of make it safe to get off and on the freeway. Another item is having that weave merge lane run between each of those interchanges in Grand Rapids. As for my idea of the a Light Rail to link the Holland, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids I think it would have to be by a vote of the public and give them the choice on the type of funding for each city. I would suggest a .1% income tax at a 10k deduction or a .5 mill rate or something in that manner. The cities that approve of the light rail stops would have to vote for the manner of funding. So the ballot would be choose Yes or No and then choose the type of funding. I would toss the question to the ITP, although EGR and Kentwood would not get to vote for it since at the moment there is no way to link the LT rail to those cities unless it were to go along Michigan Ave to EGR then to the Airport, Hudsonville, Zeeland, Holland, Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, Norton Shores, Muskegon, Coopersville, and that small community west of Muskegon. If townships were to ask to join up by their boards they could only if they are on the route. As for how many stops these cities were to get, well just one. They would get to choose were on the line the stop would be at. I would also suggest that this be a seperate line from CSX usage and have the Amtrak line either be moved to it or be stopped at Holland since CSX has been a sore spot with Amtrak. The problem I have right now when it comes from Ottawa County there is not a lot of good places to run this line. Considering it would have to have double tracks at points, I am thinking either I-96 section or the CSX section. CSX has the benifit of being able to serve the Grandville DDA better but it is limited in scope as there is very little space for even a single line. Once Chicago Drive enters Wyoming the next stop if Wyoming were to vote for it would be limited to the end of Burlingame. Running a Light Rail from the ITP Station to the Airport is also interesting. I am not sure if Fulton would be the best choice to run down to Lake Drive but it could run down Lake Drive to East Beltline then to the Airport. If I am not mistake, Woodland is Kentwood so it would be a good spot for a Light Rail Station. This could also allow us to cancel those Airport shuttles to and from the airport to Downtown. Getting a station of course means that you are willing to pay the tax for it. The key thing is the more cities that opt in the more runs this could make as a result. The line to Muskegon from the ITP terminal is simple run along the ambandon (i think correct me if I am wrong) along the west side of Grand Rapids to I-96 then head to Muskegon along the I-96 corridor with a possible stop at Coopersville. The station could for Walker could be at the Delta plex area.
  12. Well all i can say to the aspect that US 131 when I have gone down to downtown has been at a crawl in the morning. I seen the numbers of cars per day and that number approaches 120k as you get into the S curve. It is near 100k at 28th St. So I think there is a bit of traffic but on the other hand is it faster at 7 or 8 am to use 131 versus the BRT I do not know. Thats why I proposed the challenge. From my perspective the few times I have gone down there in the past year is that it would be faster to take the BRT.
  13. I just dont know how sales tax can keep up with costs. I do think a sales tax is fine if you are paying for bonds. But for money where you need a steady increase in revenue I just do not think a sales tax will work in the long term. An income tax does have benifits but, I hate to say that, it can go up and down with recessions and we do not need to be told about that. As for property taxes, well we all pay them which is a problem because it hurts businesses. The data I found for the US Core CPI which is the CPI that includes everything but food and energy was 1.8%. The rise in healthcare costs during the same time was 2.8%. If you take just food out the equation then the rate of inflation was actually deflation of 1.1%. On top of that is that just comodities minus food and beverages went down a staggering 8.9%. This was just from this year compared to last year. I would have to do some more searching to find a long term trend but I just dont see how an operations millage using sales tax is going to work.
  14. The problem is that the increased price of goods is taken with food and drugs as part of the rate of inflation. Take those two items out and the state has found out that it only goes up by an avg of .5% a year. Look at our school funding, it has nearly been flatlined and every year the healthcare costs go up and the schools are saying we need funding to go up by the rate of inflation. BTW those numbers were from the 2006 budget year after a decade of sales tax collection were looked at. The only other way to see an increase is to have more people buying stuff but the problem is that there is higher demand for service then which requires even more money. Its a vicious cycle IMHO. Right now with the number of taxes in the state we are just not competive to bring in new developements. And our cities are forced to look at two diffrent forms of revenue streams, one that is based on property that hits everybody but hits the poor harder IMHO, and income tax that can be good if setup properly. I just dont know if income tax would work for the ITP. I would need to know the amount of income given out by the county businesses and then look at how much the ITP needs to cover. On top of that is setting the amount of deductions per person. Another item is how much can the county tax but I still think a small tax like that if setup properly would work to create not only a transit system for Kent County but also a regional for the Tri Cities with a light rail.
  15. You dont understand the underlying problem with sales tax though. The amount of money collected by the state has not kept up with inflation. If you were to add food and drugs to the mix it would but since those are outright banned I do not see how that would be possible. On top of it any law passed by the state would have to jump the hurdle that the max that can be levied is 4% with an additional 2% for schools. That is the problem that would have to be voted on by the people. On top of those issues how are you going to solve the use tax aspect ie internet sales. If a tax does not keep up with inflation it can not keep up with general expenses that do go up. That is why property tax except in one of those once in a century type of events goes up on a yearly basis. But if we could do a flat income tax that would provide the best source of revenue funding since it does trend with the rate of inflation, it does not hurt business, and setup up right it would provide the necessary funding. I do think in the long term a property tax is the best method because it goes up.
  16. The problem Dad is that the state consitution would have to be changed. That requires a vote by the entire state. I hate to say it but if a west side politican brings it up for mass transit it wont fly with the east side politicans. It does not matter which party because it just wont fly. On top of it you would have Me who would state why would we want to have a tax that has not kept up with inflation. It has failed our schools do you want it to fail our public transit? Thats why property tax is the best for keeping up with inflation. But it has the side effect of hurting bussinesses the most. An income tax is better because it allows business growth but it saddles the people who live and work in those communities with a high amount of taxation.
  17. I hate to say this but europe operates their mass transit by a HUGE gas tax. I do mean huge. Their gasoline is actually cheaper than ours per gallon but they pay almost a 100% tax on fuel. I do not know of any way to do mass transit service without it being backed by a tax. To get a government service you must pay by a tax. How you tax is the real issue. A property tax you feel is not going to work. A sales tax is banned. So all we have left to offer is an income tax which I am not sure can be used. So we either pay for said service or we dont get service. I do not know of any other way outside of having a billionare donate enough money to create a seed trust that could pay for the service without cost to the taxpayer.
  18. John the problem we have is not that voters wont vote for it. Its a matter that some wont. If this was a vote that had every precint vote against it I would say yes this was a failure but most of GR and EGR voted for it. We have to look at our failures and see where to improve using what worked in GR and EGR. Thats what a lot of us are trying to figure out. One problem with your proposal is that you state that we need to find alternate revenue for this. The problem is that the state does not allow us to use alternate revenue. The Income tax is for Cities and Counties (maybe I have to look that up) and it does not allow for these types of agencies from what I can understand. As for Sales Tax not only is it failing to keep up with the pace of inflation it is banned for local use. So that leaves us with Property Taxes as the only means to go by. If we were to do a county income tax I do think those cities that already have one would have to pony up some of theres instead of collecting it. That also begs the question would a .1% with a 10k deduction work to collect enough taxes to run the entire system. And would every citizen of the county have to pay even though they may not get said services like Sparta or Cedar Springs.
  19. Say GRdad I think for a light rail we should look at a regional first. I would propose a 3 line approach. One using Chicago Drive to Holland, one using US 31 from Holland to Muskegon, and lastly a line from I-96 to Grand Rapids. I think as a whole the Rapid should discontinue the regular bus lines and change them to BRTs but only as the lines get busier. So for instance target the highest capacity lines that the ITP has in each city and create several BRT lines out of them. I think that would be the best method IMHO. I would also propose a board that would oversee the Light Rail. I do believe that if we start a process of changing our lines out to BRT lines with the funding at present it could start a small surge in development. If it creates enough maybe at that time they could go back and ask to create several secondary BRT lines and a Street Car system for the orginal BRT Lines.
  20. Okay what can I do to show what needs to be an anchor for the Southern section. Well lets see how about park and ride areas. The first thing that pops into my head for the burbs. The next thing is a large residential area that is of light density. This area can then hop into the area. I can see that it is hard for people on the burbs want to leave there cars there. I just dont see any means to really sell that area without saying Park and ride. I mean we have over 100,000 cars per day on US 131 heading into downtown. I still think we should try to take a car ride one day and time it for a drive at 7AM with two cars. Both starting at Townline Elementary, one goes North to Jefferson then to GRCC and finally the Federal Building. The other takes US 131 at 54th Street. This would be our Kentwood Vote message. For Wyoming, start from Wilson and 52nd. One goes to the Park and Ride at 54th and Divison. The other would take M6 to 131 then to downtown. Both going downtown need to find a parking spot at a lot that is not a DASH lot. That would be my version of a message to both Kentwood and Wyoming. As for Grandville, I would say our next line would hit the GV downtown plus Rivertown Crossings. As for Walker I would suggest they look put the 3rd line on Alpine. Each line would be named after metals. For EGR say a line on Lake Dr would be looked at in the future. Say we will not forget their first vote. Thats all I would do. BTW Platinum line would be the 28th St line I been mentioning as a good possibilty. As for the Alpine line I would suggest the Gold Line. As for the EGR I would say Copper Line.
  21. I have been slightly agiated by the no voters but I have not called them names of that sort. I think the voters of wyoming who voted no think the label for wyoming is backwardness not Vision and Progress. But alas thats the most I have said about no voters.
  22. Dad the money was already OURS. All we had to do pass a 1 dollar a month millage request (at 150k taxable value house) to get the 40 million.
  23. What I found out was at the Fisher Station Charette. From what I could tell, the gentleman that handles most of the selling of properties on Division was approached by multiple people asking about properties on Division. Considering that he represented one of largest commerical sellers in the area I kept it quite mum. Its been a while so I did not keep track of names but needless to say multiple people were looking at properties.
  24. But the issue is that we have a good grassroots party that is spending their time on hurting the cities instead of supporting the cities in getting what we need from lansing. By having to cut services because we have no money to support those services. I like to see what developers would want to go into Grand Rapids Metro area when police gets slashed by half because we have no more money to support them. Thats what is going to happen in the near term. The Liberitain Party can hang thier hat on that one wasting money on a group of cities trying to support themselves instead of pestering Lansing to give the money back to the cities that is rightfully theirs.
  25. Yeep and the thing is that they been fighting every millage request when they should be banging the door on lansing to tell them to stop cutting money to the cities. I can not wait for the Monday Worksession meeting at Wyoming. I am going to have so much fun!
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