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Robust Transit System, Prop 1 ‘Yes’ Vote Critical to Commerce

Over 10,000 workers in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park experience a long, multi-modal commute from the place where they live, to the suburbs in which they work –impacting both commerce and quality of life. While large cities across the country observe a similar trend, the lack of coordinated public transportation in metro Detroit remains a long-standing issue of critical importance in the post-bankruptcy era, according to a panel of transit experts in a discussion titled “Connecting the Region: Transit Development in the ‘D’” moderated by Nancy Kaffer, columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Addressing the current transit problems in metro Detroit, Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, discussed the challenges and successes of his agency in making the case to multiple audiences – businesses, individual citizens and lawmakers – for the need for a robust regional transit system and its critical role in connecting the region.

Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United (TRU), stressed the need for transit to be inclusive of all people, a theme that resonated throughout the Detroit Policy Conference in various sessions. Former Royal Oak mayor, and current partner at Plunkett Cooney, Dennis Cowan, highlighted the importance of businesses recognizing that transit is critical to a thriving workforce. The panel highlighted May 5 as an important deadline – when citizens will vote to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges via Proposal 1.