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Regional transit for southeast Michigan? Not this year

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Try again in 2020

Photo by Michelle and Chris Gerard

Another day, another failed attempt at transit in southeast Michigan.

Voters will not get a chance to vote on regional transit this November. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) met Thursday and could not come up with enough support to get the plan on the ballot. Confusion over the renewal of the SMART millage in November was cited as one of the reasons this plan failed to make it on the ballot.

According to Crain’s, RTA chair Paul Hillegonds stated, “We are disappointed we couldn’t reach a consensus on a master plan for 2018. I don’t think there’s anyone around this table who doesn’t believe we have to do better in the region.”

The plan offered this year would have led to more buses more frequently, plus connectors in areas that didn’t have solid bus service. Curbed readers weren’t all that impressed with the plan.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, who pitched the new plan earlier this year, and who demonstrated the need for regional transit with a bus ride from Detroit to Novi, responded shortly after the decision.

Dan Gilbert followed with a tweet of his own, showing how lack of transit could affect drawing talent to the region.

Back to the drawing board for 2020. We wonder how much of an impact Ford’s presence in Detroit could have on a newer plan. The company has stated it would like to see a stronger connection between Detroit, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor. Wayne County and Washtenaw County have generally been in favor of more transit. Could they go alone? Will Oakland and Macomb catch up at some point? Can the RTA finally develop a plan that will push the region into this century? We’ll see in the next two years.