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Next RTA vote could be shelved until 2020

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Didn’t we almost have it all?

The future of regional transit in southeastern Michigan looked shaky after the big RTA vote failed in November. The plan would have brought bus rapid transit to main corridors around the region, but numerous obstacles prevented the millage from passing.

Since then, the RTA has been fairly quiet, except for the recent revelations that RTA CEO Michael Ford was spending an awful lot of money on swanky hotel rooms, travel, and expenses. The board fired Ford on Thursday, and now Crain’s is reporting that the next vote might not be until 2020.

RTA board Chairman Paul Hillegonds spoke to Crain’s about the current state of the Regional Transit Authority and whether they might proceed since the vote was just narrowly defeated. According to Crain’s, Hillengonds says, "Do we have the time before 2018 to do the kind of work we need to do through the region on what it entails and would translate into service through the region?"

The board has a lot to consider when they meet in April. Hillengonds told Crain’s,

"It's resolved to move forward and feels that the narrow defeat warrants trying again. The question is, how much change in the master plan and what type of funding request would be required and when," he said. "There are different ideas on how the RTA should proceed. The board will want to discuss the full range of options."

Perhaps in the meantime, maybe they can do more community outreach, develop a stronger plan, and hope that the QLINE is wildly successful. Here’s to hoping.