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MEC: Regional Transit Authority legislation a huge win for Michigan

House joins Senate, measure on way to governor's desk
December 6, 2012

Legislation creating a Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, passed today by the Michigan House of Representative, is a huge victory for public transportation the Michigan Environmental Council said.

“This lays the groundwork for a more reliable, convenient and affordable system of public transportation options in our state’s most populated region,” said Chris Kolb, MEC president. “It is a critical tool to connect people with jobs, neighborhoods, retail and cultural attractions. It will help make Southeast Michigan competitive with other regions where strong transportation backbones support local economies reduce congestion and pollution and enhance quality of life,” he said.

Gov. Rick Snyder has been an RTA advocate, and is expected to sign the legislation.

Companion bills establishing local revenue options for transit were still pending late Thursday afternoon, but the main bill, SB 909, passed with 57 votes to 50 against. Many supportive Democrats voted no in protest against Republican initiatives on legislation that was unrelated to the Regional Transit Authority.

The Authority will be run by an appointed board and a professional staff to coordinate and oversee regional public transit service in Southeast Michigan. It will help ensure the smooth coordination of bus and rail services throughout the region, creating cost savings through efficiencies and the elimination of duplicate and overlapping services. This is a vital step to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness for the region’s beleaguered transit service, improve management of resources, and eventually expand regional transit service.

It was a long time coming. More than 20 legislative attempts to create an authority have failed during the past two decades.

“Michiganders wanting better transportation options have for too long felt like Charlie Brown – always getting the football yanked away at the last minute,” said Kolb, who served as state representative from the 53rd District from 2001-2006. “Today, it feels good to finally kick one through the uprights.”

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Contact: Hugh McDiarmid: 248-660-4300
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