For years, the Regional Transit Authority has tried to create a regional public transit system, but has failed to get the votes. The opposition frequently comes from Macomb and Oakland Counties.
But in this region, transit is still a hot topic — even in Oakland County. That’s because the Oakland County Commissioners recently voted 13-7 to put a new 95-cent county transit millage on the November ballot.
The proposed new 10-year millage, expected to raise over $66 million in the first year, is meant to bolster transit services in Oakland County.
“When you look at what’s necessary to provide improved access to everywhere across Oakland County — it’s critical.” — Dave Woodward, Oakland County Board of Commissioners
Listen: How public transit could be expanded in Oakland County.
Dave Woodward is a Democrat and chair of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. He says the expanded transit millage will be critical to improving the quality of life of Oakland County residents.
“When you look at what’s necessary to provide improved access to everywhere across Oakland County — it’s critical,” says Woodward.
Megan Owens is the executive director of Transportation Riders United, a nonprofit transit advocacy group. She says that although transit issues will remain, the millage, if passed, will address “major gaps in the system” and reduce costs for the average Oakland County resident.
“People spend more on driving than they do on food, on health care, on prescriptions, on schooling, on cable, on vacations — on anything other than their housing,” says Owens.
Ruth Johnson is a Michigan State Senator who represents parts of Oakland County. She says the people she represents in Holly can’t afford a tax increase to pay for the new transit system.
“We already have a system that works for people here that want a ride,” says Johnson of her constituents.