A New Path to Invest in Great Regional Transit: Amend RTA Law

Transit opponents keep trying to block our way, but our region NEEDS to invest in better transit so we won’t stop until we achieve it!

Macomb County leaders don’t want to fund better transit. Fine. Oakland and Wayne leaders developed a plan to do it without them through the Municipal Partnership Act. Then north Oakland Townships screamed about the level of the millage cap, among other complaints.

HB 5550 would amend the law that created the RTA. Voice your support!

Now County leaders have found a compromise with Legislative leaders on a new path forward. Newly introduced HB 5550 would amend the RTA law to implement a few key changes:

  • Allow 2 or more counties to create a new transit Service Area which other counties can choose to not participate in (so Oakland, Wayne, and Washtenaw Counties can proceed without Macomb);
  • Allow the RTA to place a transit funding measure on the ballot just in the new service area without letting non-participating counties (Macomb) block it;
  • Cap the millage rate at a maximum of 3 mils (down from the 5 mils HB5229 proposed);
  • Ensure all funding raised in the new service area be spent in the new service area; and
  • Ensure transit funding is not utilized for other purposes.

This compromise could attract more bi-partisan support.

This will replace efforts to amend the Municipal Partnership Act (HB 5229), making RTA’s role clearer and minimizing concerns of some. The Detroit News stated “The new bill could make it easier for some Republicans to support the transit effort because it focuses on restrictions to the current Regional Transit Authority, unlike a previous proposal that would have revised a separate state law.”

“We worked hard over several months to find a plan that improved the flawed RTA status quo and strengthened the rights of local voters to choose their own best way forward. We listened to a lot of meaningful feedback from concerned taxpayers, residents looking for new options, job creators worried about filling open positions, small government advocates, and local officials from all over the state on both sides of the issue. This is the best plan to address nearly everyone’s concerns and give the power back to the people.”

Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Lee Chatfield on 2/26/2020

Voice your support!

Legislators need to know that this is a strong solution that will allow our region to invest in better transit. Please act now to tell your legislators to enable regional transit progress by supporting HB 5550!

This important advocacy work is made possible with grant funding from United Way of Southeastern Michigan.