Let the People Vote on Regional Transit

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Oakland County Executive Patterson and Macomb County Executive Hackel previously said they’d let the people of the region vote on the RTA’s regional transit plan, but they’re now prepared to block it.

If you haven’t signed it, here’s the direct link to the petition to the County Executives.

Last Thursday, we traveled to the Regional Transit Authority’s monthly board meeting in downtown Detroit, expecting to cheer on an RTA vote to put a regional transit proposal on the November ballot.

What we didn’t know was that that morning, Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel had opened a last-minute attack on the RTA plan – and, in effect, the very idea of regional transit itself.

In a press release that morning, Patterson and Hackel claimed they lacked assurance that the RTA wouldn’t siphon off tax dollars from their counties to Detroit, and, asserted that the RTA plan, which we previously analyzed here, “fails…on virtually every level.”

In an earlier memo shared with the press release, the Oakland County RTA representatives argued that “the plan is designed to force the ‘outer portions’ of Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Macomb Counties…to be compelled to 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.”

In fact, as we discussed here, the RTA plan is highly favorable to Oakland and Macomb, which receive the lion’s share of new local transit services. But without support from the Oakland and Macomb representatives, the RTA board was forced to schedule another meeting for next Thursday as the window for placing the RTA proposal on the 2016 ballot ticks to a close. (August 16 is the final deadline.)

It’s Time to Act

We’ve come too far to let this happen now. We can’t let Patterson and Hackel thwart a vote of the people on a issue of surpassing regional concern. We’ve been waiting for decades, and we need action now.

Please sign our online petition to Patterson and Hackel, urging them to allow a vote of the people on regional transit, and share it with your friends, family members and coworkers, especially those in Oakland and Macomb County.

On Tuesday, July 25, join us in telephoning Patterson and Hackel’s offices (more information here), and ask them to allow a public vote on the regional transit plan. Patterson’s office number is (248) 858-0480; Hackel’s, (586) 469-7001.

And on Thursday, July 28, join us at the RTA board meeting – tentatively scheduled for 1:30 pm at the Detroit Regional Chamber office, at Woodward and Jefferson – to raise our voices together for the transportation freedom we’ve been denied so many years.

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