Transit advocates want more bus funding in final FY25 state budget

Advocates are concerned one-time funding approved for bussing last year hasn’t been maintained, despite rising costs of operating the service.

Legislators in Lansing are in the process of finalizing Michigan’s state budget for the 2025 fiscal year. That’s after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shared her plan in February.

The proposal includes about $75 million for transit and rail programs. But some public transit advocates say the budget skimps on support for local bussing.

Listen: Transit advocate Megan Owens discusses 2025 bus funding.


Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United, says the amount of funding the state gives municipal bus services has declined over time.

“At one point in time, the state actually covered half the cost of running local bus service,” said Owens. “But over the years that’s dropped to barely 30%.”

Owens says that funding is especially important for local transit authorities, like SMART and the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT).

“Unfortunately, the cost of running buses increased by 9% last year.”

Mayor Mike Duggan is hoping to increase funding for bus services in Detroit for the 2025 fiscal year.  His budget plan includes a 13% funding boost for DDOT, which roughly amounts to an extra $21.6 million.

SMART has not yet shared its budget plan for the next fiscal year.

Owens says she and other transit advocates have been to Lansing in recent weeks, in hopes of persuading legislators to increase support for local bussing in the final version of the state budget.

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  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.