RTA Votes: Transit Plan to go on Nov. 8 Ballot
(RTA, Aug. 4, 2016)
DETROIT – The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) Board of Directors voted Thursday to place on the November ballot a Regional Master Transit Plan to create a rapid, reliable regional public transit system in Southeast Michigan. The vote, taken at a special board meeting, places the RTA Master Plan on the ballot in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
“Southeast Michigan is the only major urban area in the country without a viable, coordinated public transit system,” said RTA Board Chair Paul Hillegonds. “The plan being presented to voters will make us competitive in a 21st century global economy, developing a transit system that meets the needs of a changing world.
“We’re pleased that board members could come together, work out their differences and make it possible for voters in the region to decide on this issue that is so critical to our future.
In addition to placing the proposal on the November ballot, the board amended its bylaws to create a consensus model of governance that is inclusive of all five jurisdictions in the region.
If the RTA Master Plan is approved by voters it will create a wide-ranging rapid, reliable regional public transportation network for Southeast Michigan to end its status as the largest metropolitan region in the country without true regional transportation.
“This plan keeps the transit we have now, creates greater efficiency, and introduces premium transit options for the first time in our region,” said RTA Chief Executive Officer Michael Ford. “It provides coordination and regional connections to provide a seamless network that connects people to jobs, to healthcare, to education and to opportunity. This plan moves our region light years ahead and makes us competitive with the rest of the nation.”
The proposal will require a majority of the votes cast among all four counties in November to go into effect.
The plan covers 20 years, but many elements of the plan will be complete in five years, including one rapid transit line and regional rail service, with the other rapid transit lines complete within 10 years. The master plan supplements and connects service now being offered by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), the Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority (AAATA) and the Detroit People Mover.
The overall plan will produce $4.7 billion in revenue over 20 years, with a 1.2 mill levy raising an estimated $3 billion along with an additional $1.7 billion in federal and state matching funds. The millage equates to about $7.92 per month for the average home in southeast Michigan.
Key innovations in the plan include:
~Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes along Woodward Avenue between downtown Detroit and Pontiac, on Gratiot Avenue between downtown Detroit and M-59, on Michigan Avenue between downtown Detroit and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and on Washtenaw Avenue between downtown Ann Arbor and downtown Ypsilanti. Bus rapid transit is a bus line with attributes similar to light rail, including dedicated lanes, permanent stations, traffic signal preference and pre-board ticketing.
~Regional rail that connects downtown Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit with stops in Ypsilanti, Wayne, and Dearborn.
~New cross-county connector and commuter express bus routes that provide seamless service across municipal and county lines without the need to transfer.
~New local services that connect communities with no existing transit into the regional network.
~Improved paratransit services for seniors and people with disabilities, including demand response and mobility services that span the entire region.
~Express transit service to Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Ann Arbor, downtown Detroit, Macomb County and Oakland County.
~A universal fare card that would provide access to all transit systems in the region.
~Increased frequency and longer spans of service.
~A centralized source for travel information and paratransit services.
Seamless coordination between existing transit providers.
~Regional services with features to help buses stay on schedule.
~New vehicles and improved facilities to maintain the ones we already have.
ABOUT The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan:
The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) was created in 2012 to plan for and coordinate public transportation in the four-county southeast Michigan region, including developing a plan for rapid transit. It has a 10-member board whose members are appointed for three-year terms by the county executives of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, the chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, the mayor of Detroit and the governor of Michigan.
RTA Votes: Transit Plan to go on Nov. 8 Ballot