Regional Transit May Not Make it to the Ballot

Kramer_TOP_02Regional Judy_Palmer30yearsTransit May Not Make it to the Ballot

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 27, 2016)

Pontiac, MI – Efforts towards a regional transit plan could be stopped in their tracks if representatives on the RTA Board from Oakland and Macomb Counties do not vote to put the 1.2 mil question on the ballot.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel released a statement about the RTA vote, which is scheduled for Thursday.

garden16_bridget_kevin_deegan_krause“I cannot in good conscience support the current plan which spends over $1.3 billion of Oakland County taxpayers’ dollars over 20 years but only gives our businesses, workforce, and residents a fraction of that back in transit services,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

“The current RTA plan falls short of achieving our county’s expectations for transit,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “It is difficult for us to support a more than $4 billion commitment over the next two decades which could negatively impact our county’s longstanding commitment to transit especially the SMART system.”

There is a special meeting scheduled Thursday to see if the representatives from Oakland and Macomb Rust Belt Ad late FridaysCounties can reconcile their concerns.

The meeting will take place Thursday, July 28 at 1:00pm at the Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Ave, Ste 1900, Detroit.  If they vote yes, the proposed 1.2 mil question would go on the Nov. 8 ballot in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties.  One member from each county must approve it before it can go on the ballot for the public to vote on.

Megan Owens of TRU (Transportation  Riders United) stated “Tens of thousands of people continue to be left stranded or struggling to reach jobs, doctors, and elsewhere. If the RTA does not vote Thursday, our region is left without sufficient regional transit for at least the next two years.

DDAnew01Chuck Moss, one of two RTA Board Members representing Oakland County, said he cannot comment on the vote until he sees the final resolution, but he said he will want to see three things before he does: ” 1) What do Oakland taxpayers get for their tax money? 2) When do they get it? 3) What guarantees do they have that they’ll get it?”

The plan was unveiled in June, and includes many transit options including:

~Bus Rapid Transit along Woodward, Gratiot, Michigan Ave. to the Detroit Metro Airport, and Washtenaw Avenue between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

~Regional Rail to connect Ann Arbor, Ypsillanit, Wayne, Dearborn and Detroit New Center. This connects to the Amtrak service that already exists between Pontiac and Detroit, and that extends West beyond Ann Arbor to Chicago.

~Cross-County Connector bus routes.garden16_Cottrill family aug

~Commuter Express Routes including along M-59 and I-75 from Detroit to Auburn Hills.

~Airport Express service will provide express service to Detroit Metro Airport

~New and expanded local bus services

Read more about the current discussions at Crains and The Detroit News.

For previous RTA and transit-related stories see http://oaklandcounty115.com/?s=transit

Learn more about RTA at http://www.rtamichigan.org/.

Note: This article has been and will be updated with more information through the day.

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