Candidate Mike Barnes responds to our questions


District 18 Republican Candidate Mike Barnes:

Mike BarnesQuestion 1) What do you think the County Council’s role is in improving the county’s walking and biking infrastructure?

Answer 1) Communication with the public is paramount.  Encouraging their participation in our process will aid us as we map our present and future plans.  Informing our residents of the benefits of healthy-related choices; encouraging all to seek ways to walk, bike, run and other exercise, should be a consistent theme in county planning.  As we have already seen, “if you build it, they will come” shows all that these needs have made and will continue to make our communities more attractive.

Question 2) What would you say are Greenville’s transportation challenges? Do you think walking, biking and transit play a role in solving those challenges? How?

Answer 2) As a business man for over three decades in the towing business, I speak first hand to many challenges facing us all each day as we travel.  While we will continue to encourage all forms of transportation and the best options available so each can have a safe and successful outcome.  I will expect and hope that we at county council can get more public input and buy-in to participate in processes that help solve the many transportation related challenges in our county.

Question 3) Greenville County’s land use policies have a major impact on how people get around. Numerous studies show if you build pedestrian and bike-related infrastructure, people will use it. In addition, this type of infrastructure is much cheaper to build and maintain than car-based infrastructure. But when new construction is not required to include pedestrian and/or bike infrastructure, it is very often not included, limiting people’s options, and make foot and bicycle transportation less safe. What role do you think County Council plays in helping manage growth to ensure residents have transportation options?

Answer 3) We should expect better communication and education opportunities while providing the leadership coupled with consistent encouragement to the county employees/staff that have impact on our growth planning process to be inclusive of all needs while growth is being planned.

Question 4) The Swamp Rabbit Trail has had a huge impact on the economy and quality of life in our county, and there are plans to extend the trail to CU-ICAR. Some, but not all, of these installations (I’m can be grant funded. What other revenue sources will you propose for expanding our off-road trail?

Answer 4) Encouraging private contributions as well as corporate sponsors which we have seen being very effective in many community related activities should be pursued and then publicly noted along the trail.

Question 5) The 2014 Roads Referendum included 101 bike walk projects that would cost $47.8 million. These proposals included many safe-routes-to-school projects, such as sidewalks to Monarch Elementary and Bells Crossing Elementary. There has been no discussion of funding these projects since the defeat of the referendum.  Do you support funding these projects?  How can these projects be funded so they may be built in the near future?

Answer 5) So many of the citizens of these areas overwhelmingly supported these efforts to get funding for these and other projects only to be let down by officials, who could not or would not act to make these a reality.  As growth and expansion continues throughout the county, it is time to reevaluate ‘who pays for what’ and at what point in the process it needs to occur.

Question 6) Would you support the legislation in Columbia allowing a penny sales tax option for road improvements, including for biking and walking infrastructure, be granted to cities instead of just counties?

Answer 6) Municipalities that are amenable to this approach should have any tool necessary to accomplish the needs of its citizens.

Question 7) What role do you think County Council should play in making it safer for children to walk and bike to school?

Answer 7) In cooperation with the Greenville School District, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies in our cities, we need to do everything possible to make the process of getting to and from school a safe and healthy event.

Question 8) Public Transportation passengers often walk or bike to their destinations from the nearest bus stop; however lack of funding for bike walk infrastructure is a barrier for use of public transportation. What funding sources could County Council provide to help support Greenlink expansion and accessibility to bus stops?

Answer 8) A focused effort to determine the needs of all citizens of Greenville County to be able to move from one place to another with the least efforts and expense to all is a goal that I will bring to county council.

Question 9) Tell us about your personal experiences riding a bike, running or walking in Greenville County for recreation, exercise or transportation.

Answer 9) As an outdoors person, I have been very active in many sports-related opportunities in my earlier life and now find that a more relaxed and mature approach of walking and biking is rewarding and beneficial to me and other family members.  We encourage one another to keep active physically, mentally and spiritually.  These simple yet effective values have helped me keep an even balance in my life.  Being active has allowed me to maintain a simple life style that has kept me in good health and leading a very active and productive life thus far and hopefully for many more years.  Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.

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