Allow a 2018 Vote on Regional Transit
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In November 2016, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) ballot proposal to expand public transit in metropolitan Detroit was defeated by a tiny margin: just 18,000 votes, or one percent of the 1.8 million cast.
As citizens of the metropolitan region, we believe this must not bring transit progress to a screeching halt. We can't wait another 4 years for another vote on better transit, as some are advocating. We believe we must reconnect our communities with a regional public transit network in order for our region to prosper. We need a revised four-county regional transit plan on the ballot again in 2018. With expanded education and public outreach, we are confident that we can win that vote.
To put the plan on the ballot, we need the support of the Detroit region's leading elected officials - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, and Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners chair Andy LaBarre. They must support this plan, and tell their representatives on the Regional Transit Authority board to move it forward.
We simply can't afford to wait four years to address the transit crisis. At present, transit investment in metro Detroit is less than half the national average per capita. The ongoing lack of transit investment has terrible costs for our region. It means that thousands of people are unable to reach employment; that businesses suffer and regional economic development is hamstrung; that thousands of hours are wasted in travel; and that families are forced to spend thousands of dollars on gas and car insurance to meet their transportation needs.
We urge our elected officials to work with the RTA and our local transit agencies (SMART, DDOT and AAATA) to develop a revised regional transit plan and submit it to the voters in November 2018. We cannot wait four years for transit progress. We need action from our elected officials today.
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