There is an election this Tuesday, May 6. The only item on the ballot is a proposal to increase our public transportation millage. It’s a good thing and I strongly support voting yes.
The proposal states:
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT MILLAGE
To improve public bus, van, and paratransit services—including expanded service hours, routes, destinations, and services for seniors and people who have disabilities—shall the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority levy a new annual tax of 0.7 mills ($0.70 per $1000 of taxable value) on all taxable property within the City of Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti, and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti for the years 2014-2018 inclusive? The estimate of revenue if this millage is approved is $ 4,368,847.00 for 2014. This revenue will be disbursed to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and, as required by law, a portion may be subject to capture by the downtown development authorities of the Cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and the local development finance authority of the Charter Township of Ypsilanti.
The millage increase would fund the following changes:
There has been lots of information floating around, so rather than repeating it all here, I am providing a list of links that contain information about the millage.
But first some transportation related videos that might give you a broader perspective on all kinds of transportation.
Enrique Peñalosa explains why buses represent democracy in action.
“Buses are not sexy, but they are the only possible means to bring mass transit to all areas of fast growing cities.” –Enrique Peñalosa
Jonas Eliasson speaks about How to solve traffic jams
Here is a great video that premiered this week for the getDowntown Program’s Commuter Challenge that encourages commuting to work by bus as well as by bike, walking and carpooling. It is titled “Ride’Round A2”
The video was produced by Kirk Westphal with seed funding provided by the Downtown Development Authority. It stars Brian Flores, Sunshine Rose and Jonathan Hoard. (Full article by Ryan Stanton describing the video)
And finally here is a really neat concept….The Straddling Bus. Can you picture this cruising down Washtenaw!
( at the 56 second mark you get a good view of the bus)
Some local news coverage on the issue:
Ryan Syanton, “31 maps showing the AAATA’s plan for improving transit in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti”. Ann Arbor News, April 27, 2014.
Ryan Syanton, “Voters will have final say Tuesday on AAATA transit expansion proposal“. Ann Arbor News, May 1, 2014.
Ryan Syanton, “See how Ann Arbor’s transit agency stacks up against 20 national peers“. Ann Arbor News, November 26, 2013.
Ryan Syanton, “Analysis: See how the AAATA stacks up against 14 other Michigan transit agencies“. Ann Arbor News, May 1, 2014.
Opposition Group (non-reputable in my mind)
Better Transit Now
(To read how I feel about this group, read my previous posts ” The disingenuous irony of the Better Transit Now group” and “Is the earth flat?”.)
Endorsements (from More Buses/news website)
“Two of Washtenaw County’s leading health care delivery system executives today announced their personal support for the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) May 6 millage proposal to improve public transit.”
“The presidents of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College have announced they’re endorsing a proposal to expand transit services in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.” Read the full article from MLive by clicking here.
“It is a national policy of the Sierra Club to promote mass transit. We support a robust but effective and cost-efficient mass transit system, both on the local level as well as nationwide.
“Public transportation is an essential part of our social service safety net in the County,” said Commissioner Andy LaBarre. “Expanding transit services throughout Washtenaw’s urban core will improve access to crucial assets like our hospitals and human service agencies. It will also help better connect people to job centers, supporting the County’s workforce development strategy, and give every resident new alternatives to getting in their cars when they want to get around the County.”
“The AAATA board has given voters in Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township the opportunity to raise new transit revenues with a YES vote on May 6. Voting YES will provide funding for more buses and expanded hours of service in all three communities. Voting YES will create new routes that will link citizens with more of our community assets like the Ypsilanti District Library. Voting YES will allow AAATA to rework many routes to provide more convenient, frequent, and efficient bus service. Voting YES will provide transportation that benefits businesses, workers, and families in the Ann Arbor area. Voting YES will increase ridership of workers commuting to and from Ann Arbor. Voting YES will provide improved bus service for each community commensurate with the revenues generated by each community.” Read the full article by clicking here.
“AnnArbor.com asked the 4 mayoral candidates where they stand on the transit millage. Guess what? They’re all on board! You can read Ryan Stanton’s full article here.”
Vote Yes on Tuesday, May 6, 2014!!