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RTA Board Delays Vote on Master Plan; Oakland and Macomb Counties Voice Concern

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We’ll wait another week for the vote

Thursday, the Regional Transit Authority of Southwestern Michigan (RTA) board was supposed to vote on their draft Master Plan for rapid, reliable transit through Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. The vote would have placed the proposed plan on the November ballot for voters in these counties.

Media were alerted early Thursday afternoon that the vote was going to be delayed another week due to some concerns from board. From board chair Paul Hillegonds,

"Since May 31, when the draft regional transit plan was unveiled, there has been considerable feedback on a variety of issues.

"Because of a significant amount of recent feedback on revenue and other projections in the plan that require a deeper level of analysis, the Regional Transit Authority is requesting an additional week to evaluate and address those concerns. We are requesting that a special board meeting be scheduled for one week from today to take up the RTA Master Plan.

"The Board is committed to collaboration and to creating the best possible plan for effective regional transit in Southeast Michigan. This additional week for evaluation and addressing concerns is an important step toward realizing the best possible plan for the region."

The Detroit Free Press is reporting concern from Oakland and Macomb county's executives, L. Brooks Patterson and Mark Hackel, and that the majority of money raised in their counties should be spent there. There’s also concern that much of their counties won’t be served by the proposed plan, as the bus lines would only go down Michigan, Woodward, and Gratiot.

In addition to the financial concerns, others include:

"Addressing annual formula for funding allocations among the RTA, DDOT, SMART, the Detroit People Mover and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, particularly for services that cross metropolitan borders.

Establishing a binding mechanism to guarantee that benefits promised to each jurisdiction will be delivered, and making that mechanism one that can't be overturned by a simple majority vote of the RTA's board.

Describing how the RTA will handle reductions in general fund subsidies or failed millage renewals, so that Macomb and Oakland counties aren't stuck with paying the tab if there is a decline in other revenue sources.

Putting the Q-Line streetcar system on Woodward in Detroit under the auspices of the RTA, which they called a non-starter because it serves only Wayne County."