Don’t Wait Another 28 Years to Fund Michigan Transit: Freedom Riders Endorse Proposal 1

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It’s official: The Freedom Riders have joined the Michigan Public Transportation Association, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and Transportation Riders United in support of Proposal 1 on the May 5 ballot. At last Thursday’s meeting, a majority of our Steering Committee voted in favor of endorsing the measure.

Why? Simply put, Proposal 1 would increase statewide funding for public transit for the first time since 1987. (Yes, there has been no increase in state support for public transit in nearly thirty years, since the Michigan Legislature cut public transit out of transportation funding when it raised the gas tax in 1997.) Proposal 1 would generate nearly $116 million annually for Michigan’s Comprehensive Transportation Fund, most of which is distributed to public transit systems around the state. For context, that’s more than twice the annual budget for DDOT, which is far and away the largest transit system in the state. Continue reading

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Springtime for DDOT? Not Quite Yet

ddot pullout spring 2015If you’ve spent any time in Detroit these past several months, you’ve almost certainly seen one of the most visible symbols of Mayor Duggan’s stated commitment to improving city bus service. Sleek new New Flyer buses sporting DDOT’s green and yellow trim are all over city streets these days, joining the fleet’s boxy older New Flyers and Gilligs and aging, high-floor NovaBuses, which date to the early 2000s. The new buses are also an eye-catching symbol of Duggan’s clout in DC. The Mayor used his leverage with Vice-President Joe Biden to get Detroit in front of other cities in the bus production line, making up for the buses DDOT handed over to SMART last year.

But how’s DDOT actually doing, beyond simple optics? The hard data above – posted quietly, and a little erratically, to the City of Detroit website in weekly reports – suggest that while slow improvement continues, the system still has a long way to go. Continue reading