May 6, 2013 – Well, that sure didn’t take long! The first meeting of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was April 10 and already some groups want to revise the legislation that set it up. The latest attempt was made last week as a western Wayne County legislator introduced legislation in Lansing to allow for opt-out communities. We just can’t stand it when we actually do something right!
One of the strengths of the RTA legislation is that it addressed many of the flaws in the way we governed transit for many years. For example, the legislation made many of the RTA decisions subject to only a majority, instead of a unanimous vote. Even some of the more challenging issues only require a super majority vote instead of a unanimous vote. The RTA has the ability to raise its own revenue – this is crucial for implementing its plans. The legislation also includes all four counties – Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw – with no opt-out communities. We are either all in or all out. In my opinion, this is key.
Transit is an issue that impacts us all and we should all decide together how it should operate, where, when, and what it should look like. Even if you don’t personally use public transit, it impacts you in ways you may not even know. It helps people get to work so they can earn a living and pay taxes. It helps decrease auto emissions. It helps decrease congestion. It helps the young and the old get around without you and me having to provide that needed ride. Does everyone get back exactly what they put into it? The answer is no. At the same time, do the citizens that pay a gas tax get back a dollar-per-dollar benefit for what they put in – again the answer is no.
Legislators point out that transit is expensive and inefficient, yet they would introduce legislation ensuring it is run inefficiently – helping to legislate their point. This bill should be voted down and vetoed by the governor if it somehow gets that far.
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