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Statement Regarding RTA Board Meeting Result and Future of Regional Transit Plan for Southeast Michigan

The lack of progress to move a comprehensive regional transit plan forward in 2018 is a tragic setback, but it’s not the end of the struggle for regional transit as a path to advance equity and growth in our community.

Lack of support by Oakland and Macomb representatives on the RTA board will be long remembered as reinforcing a divisive status quo over regional cooperation, and for near-term over long-term.

Our recent failed bid for Amazon’s HQ2 should have reminded us that we – as a region – are in a nationwide competition for talent and investment. That lesson has clearly been lost on the leaders of two counties whose actions are ensuring a less competitive Southeast Michigan.

This result would be easier to accept had the opposition to the expansion of regional transit been forthright. Instead, months of machinations, misdirection and misinformation have all aimed at specifically denying Oakland and Macomb residents the opportunity to consider, debate and vote on a comprehensive regional transit system. Numerous opportunities to join in the development of a truly regional plan that emerged under the leadership of Wayne County were dismissed in favor of stifling progress.

In town hall meetings across the region, we heard thoughtful debate and a strong desire to see the question on the ballot. Oakland and Macomb counties have short-circuited an all-important vote for our community – this time.

Rest assured that those of us who do believe in a unified, comprehensive regional transit system – which is to say, in a unified regional future – are saddened but not daunted by what happened today. Our commitment to that goal is undiminished.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Kulczycki
Director, External Affairs & Communications
The Kresge Foundation
[email protected] │248-502-0558