Commission to Vote Wednesday on SMART Funding

Commission to Vote Wednesday on SMART Fundingessential

(Sherry A. Wells and Crystal Proxmire, April 29, 2014)

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, April 30 at 9:30 AM, the Oakland County Commission votes on whether to join Wayne and Macomb County Commissions for a vote to keep the SMART bus system running in the midst of vastly reduced property values.

“Top priority is to get as many calls as possible in to Oakland County Commissioners, urging them to let the gallowaycollens1people vote on a 1 mill tax for maintaining SMART bus service, up from the current 0.59 mill,” said Joel M. Batterman, Policy Coordinator for the interfaith organization, MOSES.

He is recruiting those who can, to “join us at the Oakland County Commission meeting on Wednesday, 4/30, 9:30 am, at the Oakland County Courthouse (1200 North Telegraph Road, Pontiac) to tell the Commissioners we mean business.”

On average, the additional millage would cost a homeowner $70 per year for a home worth $180,000. That can help keep many riders employed or, for seniors and minors, able to get to doctors, schools and activities.

To RSVP, click at this Facebook link or e-mail him at  Those same links can connect interested persons with future meetings and events.JudyPalmer01

Many Oakland County residents have been pushing this month to bring attention to this matter. On April 16, Oakland County residents joined with Detroit residents to put flowers at the mausoleum where Rosa Parks now lies, and from there, to join across the Eight Mile / Woodward intersection to Reconnect the Region. One goal is to bring back the bus service, cut back in 2011, which bridged the counties.

On April 21, many from both counties met in the Southfield home of a supporter to make further plans. Yesterday, many were at downtown Detroit but stops to speak to Oakland County riders heading home after work.

According to Transportation Riders United, “SMART provides essential transit service to 35,000 people in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties every day. Yet the SMART millage rate hasn’t increased in nearly 12 years, resulting in minimal service and ancient buses. The millage expired this year and must be renewed.”

TRU Director Megan Owens said ““SMART provides critical transportation to thousands of people every day, people who are going to jobs and job training, to the doctor and to church. Without the SMART millage, SMART could not operate and thousands of people would be left stranded.”

Auto industry reporter Ben Wojdyla wants accountability in funding for SMART.  “Should three counties with a combined population of 3.8M people subsidize 35,000 people’s daily transit?  How much should I pay to support the daily transit of just 0.9% of the three-county population SMART operates within,” he said.  “My taxes are already astonishingly high, I don’t need to subsidize an organization that has no legitimate plan for improvement.

Wednesday’s vote would put the issue on the ballot for voters in Oakland County to decide.

At minimum, contact your county commissioner. Go to for contact information.

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