Transportation Riders United

Vote YES August 7 to Keep SMART Rolling!

Every day, SMART buses take tens of thousands of our neighbors to work, school, doctors, and elsewhere, while also helping seniors and people with disabilities stay independent. It may not be exciting, but this critical service is the backbone of our public transit system and must be maintained.

Vote YES on your county public transit millage

August 7 to Keep SMART Rolling!

No one should lose their job because their car breaks down. 70% of SMART riders take it to work.

No senior should feel trapped at home when they retire from driving. SMART’s door-to-door Connector Service helps seniors and people with disabilities stay active and independent.

A YES vote will NOT raise taxes, but simply renew the current 1.0 millage which costs the average homeowner $50 a year (for a $100,000 house). This is a lower millage rate than Lansing, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, or Kalamazoo and one-third of what most major US metro regions spend on transit. This is a small price to pay to maintain independence for seniors and give working families affordable ways to get around.

We do need expanded transit like the RTA millage would have provided, but RTA is NOT on the ballot. While SMART is limited in its geography and funding, it is the backbone of our region’s transit, so we must keep SMART rolling!

 

Please remember to vote YES on your county public transit millage on August 7!

Remind your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to do the same.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can vote?

  • All of Macomb County, including Clinton Twp, Eastpointe, Macomb Twp, Mount Clemens, Romeo, Roseville, Shelby Twp, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Utica, Warren
  • Opt-In Communities in Oakland County: Auburn Hills, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Twp, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Twp, Southfield, Troy, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield
  • Opt-In Communities in Wayne County: Allen Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Garden City, all Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Redford Twp, River Rouge, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Trenton, Wayne, Westland, Wyandotte

A majority of voters in each county must approve the millage for SMART to maintain service in that county.

 

What is on the ballot? 

Each county will be slightly different. Look for your “COUNTY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MILLAGE.” This measure is located on the non-partisan side of the ballot and will use language similar to:

“If approved, this proposal will renew and increase the 0.98 mills formerly authorized to 1.0 mills for the years 2018 through 2021 and allow continued support to the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) for a public transportation system serving the elderly, disabled, and general public of x County.”

“For the purpose of providing funds for the support of a public transportation system serving the elderly, disabled and general public, as a  renewal and increase of the 0.98 mills which expired with the 2017 tax levy, shall the limitation on the amount of taxes imposed on taxable property in the x County Public Transportation Authority area be renewed and increased at 1.0 mills ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) for four (4) years, 2018 through 2021, inclusive?”

 

Why is this necessary?

State law requires millages like this one to be renewed by the voters every 4-5 years. This is virtually the same this that voters approved overwhelmingly in 2014 and largely the same that the community has supported for twenty years.

Without voter approval August 7, SMART bus service would STOP, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded and adding thousands more cars to the road.

 

TRU’s Megan Owens debated Leon Drolet and others about the importance of maintaining SMART bus service

Is anyone opposed? Who doesn’t like buses?

Unfortunately anti-tax zealots are urging people to vote against SMART, as seen on Fox 2 Let It Rip Sunday morning talkshow, in the Detroit News, and in the Macomb Daily.

“A ballot question that a campaign committee calls “Nothing Smart about SMART” announced Monday it is making automated telephone calls and mailing fliers to get residents to vote no on the tax proposal.”

We must be active and vocal in reminding the many transit supporters to get out and vote YES on August 7.

 

Why keep using old technology like buses? Why not replace SMART with Uber or autonomous vehicles?

Buses remain an efficient proven method of moving large numbers of people. One SMART bus can replace 60 cars from the road.

While Uber and Lyft can be an nice addition to the region’s transportation options, they cannot replace buses:

  • Uber and Lyft don’t take wheelchairs. All SMART buses are accessible for all riders.
  • Uber and Lyft require smart phones and credit cards that some riders don’t have.
  • Uber and Lyft cost riders 3-10 times more than riding the bus.
  • Uber and Lyft are private companies that have never made a profit and may be eliminated at any time.

 

How is this related to the Regional Transit Authority’s proposed millage?

It’s NOT.  This will maintain the existing SMART bus service that Detroit’s suburbs have been relying on for more than twenty years.

While the RTA considered placing an expanded four-county transit funding measure on the November ballot, that appears unlikely to occur and would not impact this SMART vote either.

 

How can I help?

–        Urge your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to Vote Yes for SMART August 7!

–        Share on social media: #KeepSMARTrolling #VoteAug7

–        Donate to TRU so we can further spread the word about SMART.