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‘Connect Southeast Michigan’ Offers the Detroit Region Another Opportunity for Regional Transit

Among the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Priorities are two that are currently being widely discussed in the news.  The Chamber has been a longstanding proponent of both investing in roads and infrastructure, and prioritizing a reliable regional transit system to connect Southeast Michigan’s four counties – Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne. Road funding and transit is not an either-or. It is clear investing in both is critical to the region’s competitiveness.

At this moment in time we have a chance to solve the lack of regional transit with the proposal Wayne County Executive Warren Evans released last month, “Connect Southeast Michigan.” The plan includes spending less money on transit infrastructure, and instead expanding more frequent bus service throughout the region.

As leaders from 23 of Southeast Michigan’s largest employers expressed in a letter in the Detroit Free Press this week, this is a decades-old fight that we need to resolve. The poor quality of our public transit is not lost on the Amazons of the world that are looking to invest in vibrant communities. Investing in a regional transit system will attract and retain global companies and young talent, while allowing the citizens of Southeast Michigan the freedom to access jobs and essential services.

What’s Next?On Thursday, April 19 the RTA board will open up the proposed transit plan up for public comment. Details for a number of public hearings across Southeast Michigan will be released later this week. The Chamber encourages all of its members and their employees to become informed and engaged in this process.

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