Let the People Vote on Regional Transit

This petition made change with 1,402 supporters!

Metropolitan Detroit is one regional community. Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties, and the City of Detroit, prosper or perish together, rise or fall together.

Sadly, some of our leading politicians are still trying to build a wall at Eight Mile Road.

On Thursday, July 21, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was set to place a regional transit proposal on the ballot for a vote of the people in November. It didn't happen.

Instead, Oakland Executive Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel launched a last-minute attack on the regional transit plan, claiming it was too favorable to the city of Detroit.

The two county executives forced the Regional Transit Authority to delay its scheduled vote. They may yet succeed in thwarting a vote of the people on the regional transit plan - setting back our region who knows how many years.

To satisfy Patterson's opposition to spending suburban funds south of Eight Mile - even for transporting suburban transit riders - the RTA legislation already contains a provision stating that 85% of tax revenue raised in one county must be spent in that county. Patterson's representatives objected to a number of technicalities in the way that number was calculated. But their stated rationale makes it clear that they are opposed to the plan in its entirety.

"The plan is designed to force the 'outer portions' of Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Macomb Counties, the north and west pay for the services mostly beneficial to the Cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. This is a thinly veiled effort to create regional tax based sharing relating to transit," Patterson's representatives claim in a memo to the RTA.

In truth, as discussed in our analysis here, the plan would invest in new transit services across the entire metropolitan region. Some would argue that suburban areas have the most to gain. The majority of the new services in the plan are in suburban Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, and the RTA would provide the suburban SMART bus system with an additional $35 million each year.

For nearly fifty years, politicians have thwarted attempts to provide metro Detroit with the regional transit it so desperately needs. We can't let that continue. We must demand an end to the hate-filled politics that has torn our region apart, and increasingly threatens to impoverish us all, city and suburb alike. We deserve to vote, together, on a regional transit plan.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." No longer can we afford the luxury of thinking parts of our region can prosper even as others perish.

The Regional Transit Authority board is scheduled to meet again next Thursday, July 28. Please sign this petition and send a message to the County Executives that they must drop their opposition to placing regional transit on the ballot, and let the people of the region exercise their right to vote.

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