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Green Transportation Projects Moving Forward in Florida, Detroit

For today's Streetsblog Network roundup, we're trying out a different format -- bringing you a smattering of news from around the country:

Florida Moving Toward Jacksonville-Miami Rail Line: Transit Miami reports that the state has awarded $118 million for the construction of an Amtrak connection running down the Atlantic coast of Florida. The state's contribution counts toward 45 percent of the $265 million project, which would connect Jacksonville to Miami. Planners estimate the train will travel up to 90 MPH and will host almost 900,000 trips in its first year. Transit Miami reports key state and national officials are supportive of the project. The line would be part of the state's rail network, which will also include an Orlando-Tampa connection.

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Detroit Revitalization Plan Promotes Transit/Biking: The Motor City is looking to remedy its car-centric ways with the new "Detroit Works" project, a blueprint for the city's transformation. Bicycling advocates are excited by the plan's cover, which features the lone image of a cyclist. The city is working with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance on the section about bike paths and Complete Streets. m-bike.org reports that early public input on the project has been focused on transit and active transportation, with 42 percent expressing a desire for light rail and 31 percent suggesting cycling improvements.

Oklahoma Considers New Bike Laws: The state of Oklahoma is considering a series of legislative changes that would help protect cyclists. The Tulsa Transportation Examiner reports that state legislators have proposed requiring bicycle operation training in driver's education, making it a felony to throw objects at a cyclist and clarifying the state's three-foot passing law. Also under consideration is a law that would establish a Bicycle Safety Awareness Act that would be funded by voluntary payments with drivers license renewal fees. It's always exciting to see a rural state like Oklahoma take cyclist safety seriously.

"Improvement" Label Often Misapplied: Straight Outta Suburbia questions the L.A. Times' blind acceptance of the industry term "improvement" to describe a $52 million parking plan proposed for a new art museum downtown. "Whether or not adding a parking garage to a walkable downtown right next to a subway stop, and other pre-existing parking garages, actually constitutes improvement should be up for debate," the author writes. Something to keep in mind in our discussions of projects around the country.

Readers -- let us know what do you think of this new format. We think it's a good way to work in a little more variety from around the Network.

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