Regional Transit Plan for Southeast Michigan to Appear on November Ballot

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A map of the proposed Regional Master Transit Plan — CLick to enlarge image

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan Board of Directors today voted to place the Regional Master Transit Plan — a $4.7 billion project that would create a rapid regional public transit system in southeast Michigan — on the November ballot.

The vote, taken at a special board meeting today, places the plan on the ballot in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.

In addition to placing the proposal on the November ballot, the board, which voted against the project last month, amended its bylaws to create a consensus model of governance in the region.  

“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,” says Paul Hillegonds, board chair of the RTA.

The plan will include the construction of a bus line with attributes similar to a light rail along several corridors throughout metro Detroit, a regional rail service from Detroit to Ann Arbor, and new cross county connector and commuter express bus routes.  

The plan also includes the addition of new local services that connect communities with no existing transit into the regional network, improved transit services for seniors and people with disabilities, express transit service to Detroit Metro Airport, a universal transit fare card, increased frequency and longer spans of service, and more.  

The plan covers 20 years, but RTA officials say many elements of it will be completed in five years, including one rapid transit line and regional rail service, with the other rapid transit lines coming on line over the next 10 years.

“Southeast Michigan is the only major urban area in the country without a viable, coordinated public transit system,” Hillegonds says. “The plan being presented to voters will make us competitive in a 21st century global economy.”

The overall plan is expected to 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.

The master plan, which will supplement and connect transit service now being offered, will require a majority of the votes cast among all four counties in November to go into effect. 

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