The Detroit News reports that the State of Michigan has stepped in to help build a walking/biking trail along M-59:
The city and township will begin constructing a portion of the long awaited Crosstown Trail project next year thanks to a nearly $455,000 transportation enhancement grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The trail is included in the $2.3 million project to widen M-59 next year, said state Rep. Joe Hune R-Hamburg, who announced the grant Thursday.
Thank You, Joe Hune! Exercise paths like this should be built anytime busy roads are paved or reconstructed, because the additional cost is minimal if done as part of a road project. M-59 is a good start. It would be great to see paths along other major routes, notably Grand River, old US-23 from Whitmore Lake to Hartland, D-19, and M-36.
Why? Because a large portion of our population does not get enough exercise and is growing fat. In coming decades this will add tens of billions of dollars to health care costs in Michigan alone. We can't make people exercise but we can provide more opportunities for people who wish to do so.
What about the cost? Sometimes it is tough to justify the cost of projects like this. But this is really a "pay me now or pay me later" situation. In the long run, if paths like these help even a few people get exercise and lose weight, the cost of laying pavement will be dwarfed by healthcare cost savings. Also, these paths make Livingston County a much more attractive place to live and will ultimately raise property values, benefiting homeowners both while they live here and when they eventually sell.