Public transportation on ballot in Southeast Michigan
Updated: Jan 9
by Danielle Castillo
Assistant Content Director
Transportation Riders United is fighting to draw attention to the upcoming November millage proposals aimed at uniting transit options throughout Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties.
TRU, a Detroit-based nonprofit, tackles transit in three ways; through education, engagement and advocacy. This fall, the organization is focusing on the November millage proposals, which aim to renew and expand public transit in southeast Michigan.
In an interview with WDET, Detroit’s National Public Radio station, Megan Owens, TRU's executive director, said, “This will be a huge step forward for the region. It certainly won’t solve all the transit problems. There’s no question that there’s a lot more that’s needed, but it will address some of the major gaps in the system.”
If the proposal passes, Oakland County would renew its 0.95 transit millage for the next 10 years as well as expand Suburban Mobility for Regional Transportation routes throughout Oakland County, with hopes to expand services into cities including Troy, Oxford, Waterford, Rochester and Bloomfield Hills.
Macomb County would renew its 0.95 millage to maintain SMART’s existing routes for the next five years, and Wayne County would renew its 0.994 millage for current SMART and other services for the next four years.
Lukas Lesecki, a student who relies on local bus routes to get to classes at Oakland Community College's Orchard Ridge campus, said to Crain's Detroit Business, "Some people who are against this don't use public transportation, but chances are good that someone they encounter on a daily basis who brings them their cup of coffee in a restaurant or bags their groceries at the store does use public transit.”
Owens points out that several communities don't have transportation options for their citizens.
“Places like Novi and Waterford and Rochester and Bloomfield Hills are major communities with a ton of people and jobs and key destinations, that if you don’t drive, you can’t go.”
Voting takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 8. To get information about how you can cast your vote, go to the Michigan Voter Information website.