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MEC: Regional transit plan packed with potential for vibrant, sustainable southeast Michigan

May 31, 2016
A new master plan for regional transit has the right elements to fundamentally transform southeast Michigan's transportation system, connect residents with jobs and opportunities, drive economic development and make Metro Detroit a magnet for innovative businesses and talented workers, the Michigan Environmental Council said Tuesday. 

Unveiled by the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, the blueprint for the area's transportation future also has potential to improve air quality and rein in greenhouse gas emissions, said Chris Kolb, MEC president. 

"This plan lays out an exciting vision of a more sustainable future for our state's most populous region," Kolb said. "Strong public transit means cleaner air and less traffic, and putting this plan into action will be an important way for the four-county region to shrink its carbon footprint while growing its economy."

Underinvestment and a lack of coordination have left the region's transit system disjointed, unreliable and plagued by barriers to opportunity and mobility for workers, seniors and people with disabilities. Nearly eight in 10 jobs in southeast Michigan cannot be reached by transit within 90 minutes, according to the Brookings Institution. 

The master plan aims to remove those barriers with improved service and several new projects, including express connections to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, commuter rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit and bus rapid transit routes. 

"True prosperity means everyone has access to opportunity, and that's exactly what we'll get from a modern transit system like the one this plan outlines," Kolb said. "Even residents who don't use public transportation benefit immensely from the economic growth it nurtures, the talented workers it attracts and the connections it builds to make the whole region thrive."

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