The candidates answer our questions – SC Senate District 6 Primary Election January 22, 2019 and General Election March 26, 2019

There will be a Republican Primary Election on January 22, 2019 for the seat vacated by William Timmons with his election to the US House of Representatives. A detailed map of this district is shown below and is also available at this link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The three Republican Primary candidates are Greenville City Council Member Amy Ryberg Doyle, State Representative Dwight A Loftis, and Jeffrey Stringer who has not previously held an elective office.

Tina Belge has filed as a Democrat and will face the Republican primary winner on March 26, 2019.  We have included her responses so this post can be viewed again by voters in March.

As a 501c3 Bike Walk Greenville does not endorse candidates. We provide this information to help voters make an informed decision.

Our Questions and the Candidate responses in alphabetic order are as follows:

  1. Ten at the Top continues to sponsor the Upstate Mobility Connectivity Initiative, and a task force is currently working through strategies. How would you rank the following strategies as priorities for Connecting Our Future?
  • Active Transportation
  • Public Transportation
  • Micro Transit
  • Livable Streets
  • Vision Zero
  • Revenue Options
  • Transportation Technology
  • Shared Mobility
  • Autonomous/ Connected Vehicles

 

Tina Belge response:

  • Active Transportation – 2
  • Public Transportation – 1
  • Micro Transit – 8
  • Livable Streets – 4
  • Vision Zero – 6
  • Revenue Options – 3
  • Transportation Technology – 7
  • Shared Mobility- 5
  • Autonomous/ Connected Vehicles – 9

Amy Ryberg Doyle response:

  • Active Transportation – 3.  Not every street is designed for walkers and riders but key connections to schools, businesses and retail should be a priority for local governments and businesses.
  • Public Transportation – 4  Local governments should decide their priorities, not state government.
  • Micro Transit – 9  This should be a private sector issue.
  • Livable Streets – 2.  Cities who design streets and connect people where they work, live and shop are experiencing tremendous growth.
  • Vision Zero – High.  1 Pedestrian and bike deaths in SC remain one of the highest in the nation.  Cities should adopt a Vision Zero and address distracted driving locally.  State law should implement an enforceable law banning texting while driving.  The Pedestrian Safety Act was killed by an out of touch legislator despite having House and Senate support.
  • Revenue Options – 8.   Allow local governments to send a referendum to the taxpayers.   Let the taxpayers decide how/if money should be decided on infrastructure, transportation and roads.
  • Transportation Technology.  6. Local governments who invest in active infrastructure transportation systems create the next vision for tomorrow.
  • Shared Mobility.  5   The American Disability Act turned 50 years and the cities across America have benefited from shared mobiloty.
  • Autonomous/ Connected Vehicles.  7.  Let the private sector and auto manufacturing industry direct the next generation of urban infrastructure.

Dwight Loftis response:

Representative Loftis did not respond to our three email and one letter requests to provide feedback.

Jeffrey Stringer response:

Mr. Stringer did not respond to our three email requests to provide feedback.

2. Please elaborate on your above prioritization.

Tina Belge response:

Our public transportation system is in crisis and not sustainable, therefore it has to be the top priority. Active transportation is the second most important as we need to be leaders in creating other avenues for safe mobility for our citizens, apart from public transportation. This option is better for our communities and better for our environment. Revenue options are third because even with the new gas tax the amount of repairs and maintenance required far outweighs our current revenue. This might mean looking to alternatives such as red light and speed cameras, which are currently not legal in our state. The other strategies are important but tertiary.

Amy Ryberg Doyle response:    

Local governments understand the importance of Complete Streets and designing communities for people and businesses.  The carpool mom, the work commuter, the bus rider, the grandmother pushing the stroller and the dad walking his children to school are all users of the same road.  Local governments should have the flexibility to design and create streets and roads for all citizens and all modes of transit. Towns and cities who have created streets for active users have seen businesses thrive.  When small businesses thrive, communities succeed.

Not every street should allow for walkers and riders. Local governments can create their own network of infrastructure.   The state has a Share the Road law allowing bicycles on streets; it is up to local government to make them safe for everyone.  Cities compete; cities who create safe environments on their streets win.

Dwight Loftis response:

Representative Loftis did not respond to our three email and one letter requests to provide feedback.

Jeffrey Stringer response:

Mr. Stringer did not respond to our three email requests to provide feedback.

3. What will your role be as a State Senator to provide leadership towards transportation solutions for the upstate?

Tina Belge response:

In addition to advocacy as a future member of the GLTDC in helping fix our state roads, I believe partnering with our national leaders is key to help further FHA dollars and make sure they come back to the Upstate. Also, I believe that working with our local governments to ensure they receive the proper funding levels they need will further our public and active transportation efforts. I also believe in being an advocate and connector to further the Upstate Mobility Connectivity Initiative and helping create more public/private partnerships to help solve our critical transportation issues. Last, we have to protect our gas tax and ensure all of our gas tax goes towards state road repairs and maintenance. Additionally, I am a big proponent for alternative transportation modes and would be a supporter of bills looking to efficiently expand this throughout the upstate.

Amy Ryberg Doyle response:   

Citizen safety should be key!  The state should allow local governments to design their streets.  Not every road allows for a bike lane or sidewalk.  Cities and counties that understand the value of making their streets walkable will have an advantage over other cities and towns.

An out of touch legislator killed the Pedestrian Safety Act despite local governments advocating for it. This bill had House and Senate support and survived legal challenges in committee.  This out of touch legislator is my opponent in this Special Election.  This out of touch legislator does not value the Swamp Rabbit Trail and fought the city of Travelers Rest on building the trail.  500,000 users enjoy the trail annually and I am happy to support its expansion to the SC- NC border.

Local governments that have bike and walk master plans should be allowed to implement.  If an area does not have it, they can use federal standards or best practices to design the streets.

Dwight Loftis response:

Representative Loftis did not respond to our three email and one letter requests to provide feedback.

Jeffrey Stringer response:

Mr. Stringer did not respond to our three email requests to provide feedback.

4. SCDOT owns 53 percent of the road network in our state. Municipalities in District 6 have little influence to make SCDOT roads more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. For example, US 276 in the center of Travelers Rest that has more people on foot and on bikes crossing than any intersection in the upstate, yet in Bike Walk Greenville’s view SCDOT’s priority is moving motor vehicles through the intersection at the expense of safety of people on foot or bike.  How would you as a State Senator address such issues of a city or town having more control of their SCDOT owned streets?

Tina Belge response:

With so many of our roads being state owned, some as high as 80% in some of the communities I work with in the city and on county’s edge, it is imperative that there are enough resources to address these crumbling, often narrow, and unsafe roads. Gathering a database of pedestrian counts, as well as the total number of pedestrian and bike accidents would be another avenue for advocacy, providing compelling statistics to backup proposed legislation. I would also encourage greater communication between SCDOT and local government agencies regarding planned resurfacing projects to efficiently address bike and pedestrian needs as roads are being repaved and resurfaced. This would save both time and money. Additionally, with large corridors like White Horse Rd. and Wade Hampton, as well as Poinsett Highway we need to ensure these roads are invested in, from creating safer pedestrian and bike travel to improving the landscaping to deter litter. This has to be prioritized through funding, utilizing some of our surplus dollars in addition to our gas tax. Also, the transitioning of ownership is important as the state is moving towards municipalities as well as the counties being able to take over state roads. I believe this is a great solution, however funding needs to accommodate such changes. Currently our state leaders refuse to fund the full amount of our legally mandated dollars to local governments across the state. Since 2009, Greenville County has been shorted over $34 million. This money belongs to our local government, who knows its people and problems best, and who could use some of these funds towards greater infrastructure, including improved transportation.

Amy Ryberg Doyle response: 

SCDOT should create an urban design manual for towns and cities to have unique designs. Towns that understand the value of walkability succeed.  Travelers Rest is a great example of this.  An out of touch legislator fought the city of Travelers Rest on redesigning HWY 276 and the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  Local leaders persevered and implemented a trail system that is now the backbone of its great town. Local businesses opened and the community is thriving.

The city of Greenville created a downtown that is walkable and bike friendly and a downtown is now home to local businesses, company headquarters and thousands of new residents. Employers are asking local governments to help solve the workforce issue.  The city of Greenville continues to invest in active and public transportation to allow people to get to work.

All local towns and cities are not the same.  What is good for downtown Travelers Rest may not apply in Sumter.  Allow local governments the flexibility to design roads for their citizens.

Dwight Loftis response:

Representative Loftis did not respond to our three email and one letter requests to provide feedback.

Jeffrey Stringer response:

Mr. Stringer did not respond to our three email requests to provide feedback.

5. What have you done as a current elected official or as a private citizen to promote active transportation?

Tina Belge response:

As a long range planner I have worked with our citizens and SCDOT directly to bring improvements to our area. Some examples include my collaborative work with the Sans Souci community to improve Perry Rd. and the larger sidewalk system in the neighborhood to increase pedestrian safety, or in the Monaghan community creating a safer connection to the Swamp Rabbit Trail and improve mobility. I also work closely with GPATS and the TAP initiative as well as Greenville County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, whom I serve on the board for, to advocate and submit projects for funding to organizations like Bike Walk Greenville. I have also personally supported Bike Walk Greenville’s initiatives through attending events and spreading the word in Sans Souci regarding the Lakeview Middle Connection project to raise funds. Through my work and community involvement I have seen the needs in our neighborhoods and know what issues matter to them. Transportation being a major issue, it is something they each need more advocacy on the state level to help bring improvement projects to their area.

Amy Ryberg Doyle response:   

I have been an advocate for active living in the city of Greenville.  I have prioritized this with policy, planning and funding.  With policy, we have a Complete Streets Plan in the City.  Our planning includes The Bike Master Plan and Greenways Master Plan.  I have advocated for increasing funding for the sidewalk expansion program for the city (NSTEP) $1 Million in new sidewalks annually.  I have advocated for expanding the Swamp Rabbit Trail and implement policies the city of Greenville to implement a $1 Million investment in trails and greenways annually.  The Swamp Rabbit Trail expansion on Laurens Road and Laurel Creek will connect business and neighborhoods and parks to downtown Greenville.

Dwight Loftis response:

Representative Loftis did not respond to our three email and one letter requests to provide feedback.

Jeffrey Stringer response:

Mr. Stringer did not respond to our three email requests to provide feedback.

Candidate Information Links

More information on Tina Belge can be found here. more information on Amy Ryberg Doyle can be found here: more information on Dwight Loftis here, and we were unable to find more information on Jeffrey Stringer.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “The candidates answer our questions – SC Senate District 6 Primary Election January 22, 2019 and General Election March 26, 2019

  1. Thank you so much for this valuable information about the candidates views.

  2. thank you for doing this!

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