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Regional Transit Authority plan for Southeast Michigan won’t make November ballot

July 19, 2018

WDIV – Local 4

By: Amber Ainsworth

DETROIT – The Detroit-backed Regional Transit Authority plan for Southeast Michigan will not be on the ballot in November.

The plan needed to have a unanimous “yes” vote Thursday in the Funding Allocation Committee, but Oakland and Macomb counties voted it down.

A statement was released on behalf of Gerry Anderson, the chairman and CEO of DTE Energy; Sandy Baruah, the president and CEO of Detroit Regional Chamber; and more than 250 employers for the Transit Coalition.

Read the statement below:

“We are disappointed that the Southeast Michigan leaders represented on the Regional Transit Authority were unable to agree upon a plan to move our region’s transit system forward.  When the quality of transit systems in large urban areas across our country are ranked, our region’s transit system consistently falls near the bottom of the list – and that state of affairs is badly complicating life for many of our citizens.

“At the Mackinac Policy Conference in May, more than 250 companies and nonprofits called for a plan to improve transit in our region.  That call for action will persist, and we expect that the stakeholders involved will continue to work on a mass transit solution. We echo the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ current resolution that calls for continued work toward the development of a plan that improves transit for the region. And we remain committed to working with our region’s leaders to achieve this goal.

“Strong mass transit benefits everyone, directly or indirectly.  It connects residents with jobs, education, health care and entertainment.  It spurs economic development and improves the quality of life.”

Plan proposed by Wayne County earlier this year:

The plan is being called “Connect Southeast Michigan,” and it will call for a 1.5 mill property tax levy on Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The millage is projected to raise $5.4 billion over 20 years to fund expanded regional transit service and plan forward flexible transit innovations as technology changes the transportation and mobility industries.

The average house in the RTA region is worth $157,504, meaning it would cost $118 a year, or less than $10 per month.

It would also leverage an additional $1.3 billion in farebox, state and federal revenues for Southeast Michigan.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Premium Bus Routes Connecting Job Centers: 5 premium routes on Mound/Van Dyke, Gratiot, Woodward, Grand River, and Michigan, eliminating unnecessary transfers.
  • Increased Routes, Frequency of Service: An additional 10 high-quality bus routes on major cross-county commuter corridors at 15 minute frequencies and 11 commuter express routes connecting Park and Ride lots.
  • Better Connecting Airport to Region: 4 express bus routes connecting Detroit Metro Airport with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti (I-94), Western Wayne (I-275), Oakland (M-39), and Wayne/Macomb (I-94) to serve the airport’s 33.7 million annual visitors and 18,000 badged employees.
  • Expanded Commuter Rail Service: Commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor with eight round-trips daily.
  • Flexible “Hometown Service” Program: Focuses on communities not serviced by the new plan’s transit routes, bringing value to areas of region not addressed in 2016 plan.
  • Infrastructure Investment: An additional $696 million for funding infrastructure improvements that support transit.