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RTA Transit Plan To Appear On November Ballot For Washtenaw County Voters

Aug 4, 2016

Voters in Washtenaw county as well as in the Detroit area, will be voting on the expansion of mass transit in the region in this November's election. 

After several delays, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan held a special board meeting in Detroit on Thursday and have finally reached an agreement to put the issue before voters. A 1.2 mill property tax measure will raise over $4 billion to fund a mass transit expansion in Southeast Michigan, including commuter rail between Ann arbor and Detroit. The average cost to homeowners is estimated to be about $95 dollars a year for the effort.

Washtenaw county commissioner Conan Smith
Washtenaw County Commissioner Conan Smith has been involved in the negotiations representingthe county. He said: 

For a long time, we’ve looked at our commuter patterns and known that folks coming into Washtenaw County and the city. Folks coming from Ann Arbor and Ypsi to Detroit only have one option for their transportation. Now, we’ll have mass transit options for them.

 The voting results will be counted as one region.  All of Washtenaw County, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties will decide the issue as one community, and it will take 50 percent (or greater) yes vote to to make it happen.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans sent out this this statement on the ballot issue: 

"Today’s decision was a major step forward in moving our region towards a world-class regional transit system. Today’s vote also makes progress on an intractable problem that has dogged this region for 50 years. While the approval of the Regional Transit Authority agreement sets the stage for strengthening our region, this is only the beginning. The decision to move forward and fund this opportunity for a significantly improved mass transit system now rest in the hands of the citizens. The RTA millage will be on the November general election ballot. Our citizens will get to decide whether our communities, which make up this region, deserve a significantly improved public transportation system. This is an important decision for the citizens of this region. They will have to ask themselves a question; should we join virtually every other urban area in the country in recognizing the importance of an efficient and effective public transportation system. Wayne County, along with the City of Detroit and Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties worked together diligently to assure equality and fairness in the services provided by the system and to protect the taxpayers.

  

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— Lisa Barry is a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU. Contact her at 734.487.3363, on twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her lbarryma@emich.edu