Should the economic development portion of the half-cent sales tax be used to off-set the cost of the Metropolitan Planning Organization?
The half-cent sales tax is temporary (ten-years) and the Metropolitan Planning Organization is permanent so I think the city’s portion of the funding to support the MPO’s day to day operations should come from the city’s general operating budget, which is a permanent source of funding. Projects recommended by the MPO that might ultimately be approved by the City Commission could be funded from the half-cent sales tax, but ongoing operations of the MPO should be funded as part of the city’s general operating budget.
Should the city help fund a fixed-route bus system in Manhattan?
Yes. A fixed route bus system is part of our community’s infrastructure. It should be supported and funded just like we support the construction of streets and sidewalks.
Should the city increase, decrease or maintain the efforts to facilitate bicyclists’ use of city streets as a mode of transportation?
The city should maintain or increase efforts to make it possible for bicyclists to use city streets as a mode of transportation. As streets are constructed in the newer areas of the city, they should be wider to allow for bike lanes. Any time changes or improvements are made to existing city streets we should consider whether changes can be made to accommodate bikers. The planned update of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2013 will be an opportunity to refocus bicyclists’ use of city streets as a mode of transportation.
Should the city devote more funding to develop walking and bicycle paths around the city?
Yes, the city should devote more funding to walking and bicycle paths around the city. Those elements should be discussed and considered any time a project goes before the Planning Board and recommended to the City Commission. We should complete the Linear Trail connection along Marlatt Avenue as improvements in that area are made.
Should the city spend $11 million (or more) on expanding the airport and airport services?
The region has greatly benefitted from the enhanced air service provided by Manhattan Regional Airport. However, I think we need to be cautious about committing funds to expanding the airport and airport services until we have a better idea of what the final federal budget looks like.
We need to be sure that subsidies for existing air carriers will continue or we may find ourselves with an enhanced airport with limited or no service.