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CEO’s say Metro Detroit Languishing Because of Poor Regional Transit

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Leaders of the top companies in Metro Detroit say the area is falling behind others because of a poor mass transit system. But government leaders in Oakland, Macomb Counties say the suburban SMART bus system already serves that purpose.

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WDET is examining issues affecting transportation as part of our series “Policy Meets the People: Mi Voice, MI Vote.”

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

The executives of Oakland and Macomb Counties are blasting the latest plan for a Regional Transit Authority in Metro Detroit, arguing the suburban SMART bus system already serves that purpose.

L. Brooks Patterson and Mark Hackel say putting the RTA proposal on the ballot is a bad idea because it could confuse voters who would also be asked to renew a millage for SMART.

The criticism comes after about two-dozen CEO’s wrote in an open letter that there remains a crying need for regional transit in Metro Detroit, in part because cities like Novi and Livonia have opted-out of the SMART bus system.

Jack Entertainment CEO Matt CullenQuinn Klinefelter/WDET
Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Jack Entertainment CEO Matt Cullen

One of those who signed the transit letter, Rock Ventures principal and Jack Entertainment CEO Matt Cullen, also helped lead the effort to create the light rail QLine through downtown Detroit.

A rare packed QLine street carQuinn Klinefelter/WDET
Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

A rare packed QLine street car

A more typical ride on the QLineQuinn Klinefelter/WDET
Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

A more typical ride on the QLine

Cullen says the QLine was intended as a kind of “gift” for a regional transit system.

And Cullen tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter a new RTA would work with existing bus systems, not against them.


Click on the audio link above to hear the full interview

Quinn Klinefelter, Senior News Editor

Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.

Policy Meets the People: MI Voice, MI Vote

This post is a part of Policy Meets the People: MI Voice, MI Vote.

The Policy Meets The People – MI Voice, MI Vote series gives metro Detroiters an opportunity to find out how key legislation, laws and policies created in Lansing affect their daily lives.

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