Council member Joesph Baldwin responds to our questions

Republican County Council member Joseph Baldwin represents district 18:

baldwin

Question 1) what do you think the County Council’s role is in improving the county’s walking and biking Infrastructure?

Answer 1) the swamp rabbit trail has been a great success. I am in support of expanding and we are in the process of doing it now. I support bike lanes on public roads as long as it is not cost prohibitive. My record in the past reflects t his and I see no reason it will change in the future. As a County council\ believe that any steps that assist in good health should be encouraged and aerobic exercise is very important to good health and i will encourage my fellow council members to support reasonable efforts that improve infrastructure for exercise.

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)  the greatest challenge is creating a reasonable mass transit system. Right now it is cost prohibitive as it requires too large of a subsidy. Walking and biking should be encouraged but the people that do this must live relatively close to their jobs for this to be a good option. The more people that we can get to walk and bike takes cars of t he road which is desperately needed. I will continue to be open to any solution t hat makes mass transit convenient and affordable to the taxpayers.

Question 3) 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 can be grant funded. What other revenue sources will you propose for expanding our off-road trail?

Answer 3) hospitality funds are the most reasonable county source of funding. Our rec department should also pursue state and federal grants.

Question 4) 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 4) these are all great projects but the funding will now be very hard. At present we will probably have to wait for more state funding to complete these projects. The voters sent a very strong message that they did not want to tax themselves at the local level for these projects and that they expected act ion at the state level. The C-funds committee should strongly consider these projects when the state makes appropriations.

Question 5) 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 5) Yes

Question 6) what role do you think County Council should play in making it safer for children to walk and bike to school?

Answer 6) we should make this a requirement in any construction plan before approval.

Question 7) 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 7) as stated earlier I believe that grants and the hospitality funds tax should fund this.

Question 8) tell us about your personal experiences riding a bike, running or walking in Greenville County for recreation, exercise or transportation.

Answer 8) I am an avid runner and have run 4 marathons. I basically run in the city limits of Greer and at Greer High School.  I would like to see t he school district open up their property to runners and walkers.

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