Tell the Michigan Legislature to Support the RTA!

Southeast Michigan needs effective regional transit and the RTA is working towards achieving it. As they move through this challenging start-up process and prepare to put a plan before voters for sustainable funding, the RTA needs state investment.

The Governor supports and the Senate overwhelmingly passed $2 million in start-up funds. Unfortunately the Michigan House committee stripped those funds, which must be restored by the full Michigan House or the conference committee.

Please take action now: Thank the Senate and urge the leadership to support RTA start-up funding!

Here’s more background and details:

The RTA was created by the Michigan legislature in 2012 to improve and expand southeast Michigan transit. This is a big job, managing four transit providers, planning brand new rapid transit lines, overhauling a four-county regional transit plan, coordinating with state and federal bureaucrats, and engaging with thousands of stakeholders throughout. Yet the legislature only included $250,000 in start-up funding, which the Governor intended to increase but never had an opportunity to do.

This three-year process requires a top-quality professional staff of transit planners and communications specialists, along with expert consultants and support staff. In November of 2016, the RTA will present a plan for improving and expanding transit and ask voters to pay to make this plan reality. But until that dedicated funding is in place, the RTA needs an investment from the state to work through that initial planning process.

The Governor strongly supports and the Senate overwhelmingly (32-6) passed $2 million in start-up funds on Feb. 20, as part of the supplemental appropriations bill SB 608. Unfortunately on Feb. 27, the Michigan House Appropriations Committee stripped those funds out and voted down a proposed amendment by Rep. Zemke to restore them, on a party-line vote.

Now either the full Michigan House or the conference committee must restore those funds or the RTA will be stuck scrambling for its basic operational funding instead of making the real progress it needs to focus on.

Please act now to thank the Senate and to urge the leadership to adopt the bipartisan Senate bill that includes RTA’s start-up funding!