Regional Transit Authority votes to put major transportation plan on November ballot

Posted at 11:21 AM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 18:15:36-04

The Regional Transit Authority voted on Thursday morning to approve a major transportation plan, meaning voters will see the plan on the November ballot.

The final vote came after a last minute deal was reached Tuesday during a meeting at the Detroit Athletic Club. 

The measure was in danger of not being put on the ballot after a meeting last week where the Regional Transit Authority's board members were unable to agree to the plan.

Ahead of the meeting on Thursday, a long list of prominent southeast Michigan business and civic leaders added their names to a letter urging Oakland County and Macomb County to drop their opposition to the RTA's regional transit plans.

The letter was addressed to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

The letter was signed by a list that includes Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, Wayne State president Roy Wilson, Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, former U.S. Senator Carl Levin, and Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah among others.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans released this statement:

"Today’s decision was a major step forward in moving our region towards a world-class regional transit system. Today’s vote also makes progress on an intractable problem that has dogged this region for 50 years. While the approval of the Regional Transit Authority agreement sets the stage for strengthening our region, this is only the beginning. The decision to move forward and fund this opportunity for a significantly improved mass transit system now rest in the hands of the citizens. The RTA millage will be on the November general election ballot. Our citizens will get to decide whether our communities, which make up this region, deserve a significantly improved public transportation system. This is an important decision for the citizens of this region. They will have to ask themselves a question; should we join virtually every other urban area in the country in recognizing the importance of an efficient and effective public transportation system. Wayne County, along with the City of Detroit and Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties worked together diligently to assure equality and fairness in the services provided by the system and to protect the taxpayers.