Townsend Plan Would Create Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority

Plan would coordinate transit services over four counties
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LANSING - State Representative Jim Townsend (Royal Oak) today introduced a plan that would create the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, a 10-member board to coordinate transportation services in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.

“Southeast Michigan is the only large metropolitan area in the country that lacks a functional mass-transit system. This is a huge barrier to competing for talent and good jobs,” Townsend said. “After 40 years of political squabbling, we finally have a bipartisan bill that can unite southeast Michigan around a common-sense vision for better transportation choices and a stronger economy for all metro Detroiters. People want elected leaders to set aside partisan differences and geographic rivalries and solve the region’s problems. Action on this bill would be an important step in that direction.”

Townsend’s bill calls for the creation of a Citizens’ Advisory Committee and Public Transit Provider Advisory Council that will provide the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority with input and concerns. In addition, the Regional Transport Authority would have the ability to propose a special assessment on property taxes and receive proceeds of a regional registration fee. The special assessment and regional registration fee would be subject to voter approval.

“The Governor has said that creating regional rolling rapid transit is a priority for Michigan, and I agree,” Townsend said. “This is a bipartisan issue that can bring both Democrats and Republicans together to work for the benefit of the people of Michigan. I encourage my fellow legislators to lend their support to these measures.”