Recently the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan unveiled its plan to expand mass transportation throughout the region. It would increase bus service dramatically between Detroit and the surrounding communities, and it would create a commuter train on existing tracks between Ann Arbor and Detroit.
The Chief Executive of RTA, Michael Ford, tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson, “It’s about regional mobility. It’s about getting people where they need to go, particularly to jobs.”
According to Ford, “We are behind in terms of how we invest in transportation here.” He explains that southeast Michigan currently invests $69 per capita into transportation each year while Chicago invests $283. Ford also says that the average household in Seattle pays $471 annually, based on 2014 numbers from the federal transit administration. However, the Seattle Times reports residents there currently pay an average of $330 per household and are considering a similar ballot proposal that would add an additional $392 to that total.
An average household in Metro Detroit would pay about $8 more per month in their property taxes, or about $96 annually, according to Ford. “When you really think about the opportunities, $8 a month is really not a lot to ask to be able to get to a job, to get home, to have freedom, to have mobility,” says Ford.
The RTA plan works to address gaps in service. Ford explains, ”We’re building on top of these existing providers to build an infrastructure and efficiency that you couldn’t gain otherwise.”
If passed in November, a majority of the RTA proposal would be implemented in a five year period.
Click on the audio link above to hear the entire conversation.