Regional leaders support Municipal Partnership Act revision as way forward on transit

Good morning, everyone. My name is Carolyn
Wilson. I am the Chief Operating Officer here at Beaumont Health. I’d like to thank you,
first of all, for joining us here this morning at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. We very much,
as Beaumont, wanted to host this event, this news conference at our largest hospital to
reinforce and help emphasize the great need for a regional mass-transit system in our
area. Beaumont is honored to have so many distinguished guests here today, who share
our belief that a connected, thriving regional transit system would help Southeast, Michigan
become a healthier place to live and work. As one of the state’s largest employers,
and Michigan’s largest healthcare system, we do believe a more coordinated and reliable regional
mass-transit system would greatly benefit Beaumont, our current employees, our providers,
our future employees, who want to work here. Beaumont has a large geographic footprint.
We have 8 hospitals, and 145 outpatient sites that span across multiple Michigan counties.
A regional transit would create great career opportunities at Beaumont for people who rely
on public transportation. This of course would help boost our economy as well. We already
serve so many people across the region, who use SMART or DDOT busses to access healthcare,
wellness programs and related services. The ability to more-reliably help more people
move from one county or community to another is essential to the overall quality of life
for any region, especially when it comes to the delivery of quality healthcare. Now I’d like to turn this over to Wayne
County Executive Warren Evans. Thank you. Good morning. Thank you, Carolyn.
I’ll start out by saying: “what she said.” A year and a half ago, I took a bus ride from
Detroit to Novi to demonstrate a common, regional transit experience that residents face. That
trip took me 2 ½ hours. I had to walk a mile and a half to get to my destination down roads
that had no sidewalk, cars whizzing by at fast rates of speed. On the trip, I met a
remarkable young woman. She was riding the bus with me and she told me that on a daily
basis, she takes a three-hour bus ride to work, she works eight hours, and she takes
a three-hour bus ride home. I know I couldn’t do that and I don’t think that anybody else
should be asked to do that, either. We need transit. It’s not just for employees,
or students, or residents. Businesses and corporations need workers, and they need to
retain and attract talent to stay competitive. We have seniors, who cannot get to this hospital,
because they lack mobility and find themselves stuck in their homes. They deserve better.
For those of us who want to keep our children in this region, we need to make a serious
effort and attempt at providing real public transportation We all know the RTA millage almost passed
in 2016. Some of us made an attempt to try to get a better plan on the ballot in 2018,
but we never got the full support of elected leadership in the region. I’m happy today to be standing here with
the Oakland County Executive, the Mayor of the City of Detroit, and the Washtenaw County
Board Chair, who all feel the same way I do. We need transit and we can’t afford to wait.
While I’ve always wanted to see a four-county transit plan under the RTA, I respect the
fact that the Macomb County leadership feel that it’s not a priority at this time. I
also believe that we as a region have to be able to start somewhere. So today I am here
with my colleagues to announce a new tool to get us to a three-county plan. The Municipal
Partnership Act was enacted in 2011 to allow the government to foster more effective and
efficient service delivery. Under the act, voters can approve millages to fund specific
government services. Today we are requesting three amendments to the Municipal Partnership
Act. We think that would improve our ability to fund transit services and these amendments
are 1: allow the approval of a municipal partnership levee by majority vote within a participating
jurisdiction. 2: exempt the participating government from the local millage cap – same
as the DIA or the zoo. And third: to protect the levee revenues from DDA and TIF capture,
so that the resources go to transit and not other places. I want to be very clear: this
is not a transit plan. This is legislation that could get us to a transit plan. If these
amendments pass, it allows Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw leaders to negotiate a service
area so we can develop a three-county transit plan with public engagement. Our goal is to
see something on the ballot in November, 2020. I also want to stress that this is not another
layer of government. Our hope is through the Municipal Partnership Act, we can utilize
the existing services of the RTA, SMART, DDOT, and the RIDE and the revenues that it creates. I’ll close with this: for over a half-century,
southeast Michigan has become one of the most segregated places in America. For over a half-century,
we’ve been trying to get fully connected public transportation in our area. For over a half-century,
we’ve been cutting ourselves off from a substantial portion of our own talent base,
because they can’t access opportunity. Talent is king in the economy, and economic development
is becoming as much a part of talent cultivation as is talent attraction. We’re leaving
way too much home-grown talent out of the system. This is a key step toward a truly
inclusive economy. I for one am tired of waiting and I believe
this is our best shot at getting there, and I hope our friends in Lansing agree. Now I would like to introduce the sponsor
of this bill, the Chair of Government Ops, Jason Sheppard. Well good morning everybody. I want to thank
everybody that is here: the press, all the leaders. This is actually a very exciting
time for us here in the state of Michigan, and the reason for that is because as you
all are well-aware, we are working hard on transportation plans and what we do for the
future. It’s not just this particular bill that we’re talking about, it’s a comprehensive
approach to what we’re trying to do to improve infrastructure and dollars utilized in the
entire state of Michigan. As you know, several bills were introduced. I also sit on the House
Transportation Committee, so we’re debating these bills currently. I’m also in the House
leadership as the majority whip, so I’ll be involved in a lot of these conversations
going forward. How do we fix a lot of our problems in the state of Michigan? Living
here in Southeast, Michigan, and being a representative of Monroe County, and having a lot of citizens
that work in the Wayne, Washtenaw, and Oakland areas – travelling up here a lot. Understanding
how important it is to have some sort of plan to help grow, to help bring new companies,
new businesses, and also innovative ways to move people around. That has been something
that we have lacked here, and you can see it firsthand. You can see it when companies
come to look to this region, one of the first things they ask is about our transportation
and our transit, and what do we have, and what are we doing, and what does our future
hold? I feel with this bill, and the amendments
that have been mentioned, this will add another tool in the comprehensive toolbox for what
our legislature can do. And also looking at it from other perspectives: even though today
we’re here, we’re talking about these three counties, nothing precludes other areas
of the state to utilize this effort. Nothing precludes them from creating transit and transportation
initiatives to solve those issues in other parts of our state. So I was happy to be asked to be sponsor of
this bill. It’s been great working with these leaders, including the mayor and county
executives, to figure out the best way and the best path forward. Now to give you some
nuts and bolts on this situation, obviously, I’m here, because I want this to be a bi-partisan
supported effort. I don’t want this to be one-sided. I don’t want this to be talked
about as, you know, Republican versus Democrat. This is a State of Michigan issue that we
have to solve, number one. Number two, the chairman of the transportation committee,
who’s from the northern part of our state, has agreed to continue to help me move this
forward, not just through his committee, but through our two-step process in the House
and getting it on the floor for a vote. My goal when we return in December is to take
these up for hearings right away to start moving the process forward. And I’d love
to see this out of the house in the month of December and over to the Senate so they
can negotiate, and they can discuss, and they can take their next steps to get it to the
Governor’s desk. This is a very important step for this region. This is a very important
step for our state. And I want to stress to all of you: none of this is a mandate. None
of this is something that’s forced upon the citizens. This is all something that can
be chosen to be done based upon the county’s involvement and the voters in each jurisdiction.
So I want to thank you all for coming out. I want to thank these leaders for everything
they’ve done to continue to move this forward. And I also want to keep pressing forward and
get something done so we can see a great improvement in this region on how we look at regional
transit, how we look at infrastructure and transportation going forward, and let’s
keep this tool in the tool box for us to use in the future. With that – took my agenda – you’re
next? Alright. We have our new Oakland County Executive, Mr. Coulter come on up. Thank you. And thank you all for being here
at this beautiful facility at Beaumont here at 13 mile and Woodward, which I think is
an important symbol of why this legislation is needed. Beaumont is the largest employer
in Oakland County, not just at this campus, but at campuses throughout Oakland County.
And it’s critical, as the COO mentioned earlier, that they get their employees to
jobs in this county, that they get families and patients to be able to come to these health
facilities in our county, and it’s important for our county’s economic development as
had been mentioned. So my administration supports developing a robust transportation plan for
southeast Michigan for all of our residents, businesses, and communities. So we’re asking
the Michigan legislature, as you’ve heard, to give us this tool as we continue to work
on a plan that makes sense for southeast Michigan. It gives us more flexibility in determining
the best way to draw up a new regional plan, which we’re currently actively pursuing,
and that it meet the needs of all of our residents. I believe that if done right, improved transit
and mobility has the potential to enhance our economic development, resolve
workforce constraints that we talked about. And improve the quality of life of all of
our residents. To me, it is the key to creating the type of communities that will be attractive
to our young people, as we try to get them to stay in this region after graduation. Now,
some people have said: “well, transit ridership is down,” I want to point out something:
FAST Woodward, which is SMART’s limited stop, high-frequency bus service connecting
Oakland County all the way from Pontiac to downtown Detroit, is rocking it. And I see
Jim Hertel here – John Hertel here, the leader of SMART, and I want to thank him for
the innovations that they’ve done there. Since the SMART service began in just January,
2018, weekly ridership on the Woodward corridor has increased 90% in just a year-and-a-half.
Is that right, John? I got the numbers right? 90%. And to me, that’s just a glimpse of
what future ridership could look like if we really created the right regional transit
plan that moves people quickly, and efficiently, and affordably. I also think that this tool
is important, because it requires the involvement of our county boards of commission. I want
to thank my chair of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, Dave Woodward for being
here. This is important that the county boards have a role in this conversation, and this
legislation will allow us to do that. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues in the legislature,
because, as was mentioned, it’s really important that this is a bipartisan effort. We all have
a stake in the future of this region, in the economic development of this region, and the
quality of life here, and so I’m really excited that State Representative Jim Ellison
and State Senator Mallory McMorrow are here. They represent this area and they understand
the importance of transit to our region. So I look forward to working with the legislature, getting this done and then, as County Executive Evans said, more importantly, getting
a plan before the county commissions, and before the voters next year, that can move
our region forward. So I’m happy to be part of this group, and I’m also happy to introduce
another integral part of this plan, and friend of Oakland County, and that is Mayor Duggan. Well good morning and thank you to Jason Sheppard
for the leadership, for Warren Evans, who’s been a fighter on this issue from day one,
and now we’ve got great leadership on regional transit out of Oakland County with Dave Coulter’s
arrival, and I think that does change the conversation. I think the first regional transit
plan I was involved in, I was the general manager of SMART in 1991 and we’ve been
trying to do this ever since. And there had been a lot of progress made. I see John Hertel’s
here, I think SMART has just done an outstanding job. The quality of service, the FAST program,
and the like. DDOT has 50% more busses on the road than we had six years ago. A quarter
of our residents in the city of Detroit do not own a car, which means their ability to
get to work, to get to school, to get to entertainment, is limited by a transit system that’s probably
the worst in the country. And so what has happened in the last couple of years is that
there has been unprecedented cooperation between DDOT and SMART for the first time. We have
a DART pass. You buy a pass right now, you move from SMART to DDOT interchangeably, you
don’t have to buy separate tickets. We’re coordinating our schedules, we’re coordinating
our bus stops. And this really led to a different way of thinking. We don’t need to create
another bus system to drop on top of what we have. We are now seamlessly coordinating
DDOT and SMART. And so we said: “is there a way to go about this?” Now, in 2011, the
leadership of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and the governor, all passed something called
the Regional Transit Authority. And a decade later, it hasn’t worked, and I think the
reason it hasn’t worked is obvious. It was a big bang theory – that if you were going
to do anything, you needed five different jurisdictions to come together: Wayne, Oakland,
Macomb, Washtenaw, and Detroit. And if any one of those five wasn’t on board with the
plan, or their voters didn’t support it, the whole region got 0. And I think in retrospect,
the lack of flexibility has kept us from making progress, because the nature of government
services, you improve as you see and need, and not necessarily in one big bang, and so we sat
down, I did, with the Oakland County Executive, Mr. Coulter, and with County Executive Evans,
and with Mark Hackel. And we said: “how do we move this forward?” And really it
was in that conversation, where County Executive Hackel said: “I don’t see it as a priority
in Macomb County in the next year.” And as we talked about our priorities, what’s
involved is a different approach. What if instead of the RTA bill, which requires all
five to sign off at once, what if we had the ability to do the Municipal Partnership Act,
to sit down and design exactly what we wanted for the people who were willing? And if Macomb
County signs on this year, they are welcome, we would love to have them, if Macomb county
sees this phenomenal program and the business community responds, as I’m hearing every
day, that I want to locate my businesses where there’s transit, maybe Macomb County joins
us in 2022 or 2024. The beauty of this is you leave local control into this plan. And
Macomb, if they don’t join – I still hope we get them to join the first time
– they’re going to be able to join our system, get exactly the service they want,
at whatever point they want. And so, this is in our minds, the right way forward. Ultimate
flexibility of local officials, between the mayor, county executives, the county commission,
the city council, to be able to decide what level of service we want to take to the voters,
how will it fit together. And so, if we can get this bill through the legislature, all
the way through by the early part of next year, we can be in the community engagement
meetings of what plans would look like and then potentially be on the ballot in November,
2020, but nobody’s going to repeat the mistakes of 2016. We’re going to engage the people
in the community, we’re going to use the service to help design the plan. And I think,
I think that’s ultimately going to be the key. So I think we’ve got the right partners.
I feel like we have the right leaders. And as long as Jason Sheppard gets the bill done,
we’re gonna get a transit system. And so with that, let me introduce the other Jason,
the head of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, Jason Morgan.
Thank you all. I’m very proud to be here on behalf of Washtenaw County. As the chair
of our Board of Commissioners and as our chief elected official for the county, we are extremely
proud to stand with these other regional leaders. Because it’s about time that we have transit. And
we have some fresh faces, we have some new energy, and I think we have a new tool that
will allow us to get there. So we are extremely pleased to be here and be part of this conversation.
I also want to recognize County Commissioner Katie Scott, who’s from Washtenaw County
here as well, and our County Administrator Greg Dill, thank you both for being here.
I think it’s a testament to our care and our concern for this issue. I also want to
note that we have Cynthia Wilbanks from the University of Michigan here, the VP of Government
Relations there. The university, I understand, is very committed to this as well. So we have
a lot of really good motivation and some good momentum moving forward. Washtenaw County
is committed to working with our partners, Wayne, Oakland, and the City of Detroit to
develop a regional transportation system that works for our residents. Regional transportation
is critical for ensuring inclusive economic opportunity and growth for our region. We’re ready and willing to move forward
with developing a three-county system. And as the mayor mentioned, we would love it to
be a four-county system, but we don’t have time to wait. We have people who need transportation.
We have students who want to get to school and get to the university. We have families
who just want to get throughout our communities. And we know that transportation doesn’t
just end at a county line. We know that transportation and mobility is ever-increasing these days.
And we want our people to be able to go between our counties, between our communities. And
it strengthens us as a region. It strengthens the State of Michigan as a state. So we’re
very, very proud to be with you. The MPA provides us with that opportunity. We thank Representative
Sheppard for being the leader on that and making sure we have that tool available to
us. So on behalf of Washtenaw County, simply put, we are committed to regional transportation,
we are looking forward to moving forward, and we really want to make sure that residents
have a new regional transit system come November, 2020. Thank you so much. Good morning. I am Alisha Bell, Chair of the
Wayne County Commission, and I’d like to again thank Representative Sheppard for taking
the lead on this effort. And all of our local officials who are here. And I’d like to
recognize my colleagues who are with me today: Commissioners Monique Baker McCormick, Melissa
Daub, Ilona Varga, Commissioner Al Haidous, and Commissioner Sam Baydoun. I think those
are all that I saw. So you see so many of our commissioners from Wayne County are here,
because we are all so very thrilled to be a part of this effort that is so needed. For
over ten years, I’ve been passionate about regional transportation and how important
it is for this region. Whether you’re going to the doctor’s office, or to one of our
great hospitals, whether you’re going to your job, or just to dine at one of our great
restaurants throughout the region, we are in vital need of a regional transit system
that works for everyone. When I say “works for everyone,” it should be all-inclusive.
All inclusive of the residents of Oakland County, Wayne County, and Washtenaw County.
And I think this is the measure to finally get us there. For so long, we’ve been divided.
For so long, this has been something that we have dreamed of, that we have wanted to
do, and this doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right now, but this gives us the tool
to make it a reality. Hopefully before my 11 and 12-year-old become grown-ups like us.
I’m hopeful that we can work together to finally make a regional transit system that
will benefit all members of our great counties. And that’s going to take, as the mayor mentioned,
engagement. Engagement by our residents, engagement with the community. Without that, this is
never going to pass. Without engagement, we will never have an efficient, effective regional
transit system that we all know that we all deserve, right here in southeast Michigan.
So I’m so happy to be here, so happy to have our colleagues here, and this is going
to be a great day as we move forward to make Michigan the greater state that it is. And
make southeastern Michigan the greatest region in the country. Thank you. At this point, I’m sorry, I’d like to
introduce my good friend, chair of the Oakland County Commission, Mr. Dave Woodward. And
I also so happen, this is a side note, that in January, you had three new county commission
chairs: myself, Dave, and Jason, so I think we’re all in great hands. Thank you so much. Thank you, Madame Chair. That’s all it took. Good morning, everybody,
my name’s Dave Woodward. I have the great honor of being the chair of the Oakland County
Board of Commissioners. I want to introduce a couple of my colleagues who are also here:
Commissioner Gwen Markham from Novi, Commissioner William Miller from Farmington. Last November,
we elected a pro-transit majority on the county board. What makes this different? Oakland
County, my commitment, our board’s commitment, we are going to get transit done in southeast
Michigan once and for all. And Oakland County’s proud to be part of that partnership. It’s
important to note, I am incredibly excited to be part of building a robust transit system
that is going to increase frequency, increase span, and most importantly, build an inclusive
economy that works for everybody – one that ensures that need to get to work and get to
their job, but more importantly to make sure that all people can get to where they want
to go. This is going to happen. We are going to get this done. Thank you, Representative
Sheppard for your leadership. This is the tool necessary to help carry us forward. I
look forward to working with our new county executive, who’s been a solid leader on
transit. We are going to make history. And let today mark a new level of regional partnership
to move this region forward. Thank you very much. Let me introduce my good friend, Councilman
Scott Benson from the City of Detroit. Good morning, everybody. It’s an honor and
a privilege to be here advocating for regional transit at this austere delegation from the
Wayne County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, and municipalities. As an advocate for public
transit and chair for the Public Health and Safety Standing Committee, within the City
of Detroit, and someone who for the last ten years has been writing letters, I can remember
being deployed to a Kuwait naval base in Operation Desert Storm, writing a letter to DDOT requesting
that we put bike racks on our busses, just as SMART had been doing. And to see that when
I got back from being deployed was huge. When we talk about public transit, we often think
that it is the transit of last resort. And that’s a problem and something that an investment
of this nature can change. And so when we work with our partners from DDOT, like Angelica
Jones, who was leading DDOT on how we work with our neighbors and how we make these types
of investments to make sure transit is not the transportation of last resort and is the
transportation for all. And that we make sure that just because you’re low-income, that
does not mean that you’re low-quality. Everyone deserves a strong regional transit system.
And an investment of this nature can make sure that we bring that to fruition. So I’m
looking forward to seeing a law from the state that allows for the voters to decide what
they want to see and what type of investment they want to place in public transit. And
so that I can advocate at the City of Detroit, to my residents in the northeast side of Detroit
and say “hey, this is the type of investment that we need and this is how your taxpayer
dollars are being used to push our region, our city and our quality of life forward.
Just looking forward to that and really excited about that. And with that, I’d like to re-introduce
or welcome back Wayne County Executive Evans, one of our partners in public transit and
just wanted to say that I also took that same bus trip from the south portion of my district
into the Suburban Showcase. It took my three hours, three busses, and we took it to the
end of the bus line and the sidewalks ended as well. And because I was with the director
of TRUE, we had high heels and church shoes involved, because we were going to a mythical
job interview, but I didn’t have the fortitude to keep taking the walk, so we had to Lyft
and took that the rest of the way. And that meant that we also added another $20 onto our trip,
which is something a job-seeker from the east side of Detroit doesn’t have the opportunity
to do. So this is how we’re able to get that investment in public transit together
and make sure all of our residents have opportunities. I was on my way to Best Buy in Novi and I
gotta tell ya, I didn’t get the job, either. I was too tired to fill out the application
when I got there. I think you’ve heard the group and you’ve heard the, hopefully, the commitment
and passion in the group to try and get this moving forward. We’ll be happy to take some
questions now and after the questions, whenever we stop, most of us will be available and
hang around for individual interviews if people want to try to do that. So hopefully, if we
don’t get the questions here, the questions here go too long, we can still talk about
it. [Offscreen Question]: Executive Coulter, the
north Oakland and its objection to having to pay for mass-transit that it will not receive
has been an impediment along the way. What has changed, and what in the proposal do you
expect would happen for north Oakland that might change minds? [Coulter]: You know, one of the issues with
the 2016 plan, because we’ve spent a lot of time looking at what that plan was, what
were its strengths, what were its weaknesses, where did it fail, because it did fail in
Oakland County – not by much, but it did – and especially in the region that you’re
talking about. Because, frankly, if you look at it, there wasn’t enough value in the
north end of the county. I think if I was a resident of Independence Township, I might
not have voted for it, either. I just don’t think the value was there. So we have an opportunity,
and we’re still working out the details, to increase the value that they see in transit
options. But then what we’re going to do, is once we create the transit plan, the voters
are also ultimately going to have to approve it, so we’re going to go up there and talk
to them. And we’re going to say: “hey, is this what you’re looking for? Are these
the kinds of services that would be more attractive to you?” So we’re going to have those
discussions with them. We know that’s where the resistance came from, but we’re going
to have real, honest, meaningful conversations with them. We’ve already started those.
To see if we can’t add enough value to this plan to make it attractive to them. [Offscreen Question]: Question for State Rep
Sheppard, just wondering if you could explain the revisions that you’re making in this
and also why? Just looking for some more meat on that. [Sheppard]: You want some more meat on the
bones, that’s what you’re asking me right now? Bottom line is this, obviously you’ve
heard from previous speakers that when this has been attempted, there’s always these
one little facets or things that can just tank the entire plan. We have to come up with
something where when the regions want to come together, the counties want to come together,
there’s a streamlined effort for them to try to get out to the voters, get countywide
votes and make it happen. Some of the things that we’re looking at, and some of the things
that are in this bill, changes the current to make some amendments to that. Obviously,
we’re not going to be looking for each individual municipality within each county. It’s going
to be a countywide-type voting system through that. There’s also not going to be dollars taken
out. Once the millage is passed, we don’t want to see that dollars go to all sorts
of different things, we’d like to see the millage dollars go to what it’s supposed to do.
And I also think it just makes it easier for counties to get in, get out, create agreements
with each other, and not have to worry so much about one little thing sinking what they’re
doing. Those are the main points of this. Obviously as we get into the debate, as we
get into the nuts and bolts of committee discussions, other things might come up to be discussed,
but one of the key components of this that I was mostly attracted to was the fact that
not only is it just for the region, but statewide. Also, as you heard from before, the Macomb
County group had some reservations about wanting to join into something, which they felt like
they had to that in the past. This allows them to maybe not take this first option,
but maybe take it later on and work within an agreement. Those are key components and
key differences that I feel that makes this more successful. Because of the fact that we can
now look at it as a true regional approach and not trying to piecemeal things together
from little individual areas that may or may not like it. [Offscreen Question]: Given that you anticipate
this will be on the ballot this time next year is there a framework for a plan, and
will it just be busses, as previous plans? [Evans]: The framework is quick, quick, quick.
Please don’t lose sight of the fact that what we’re doing here today is trying to
get modifications to the Municipal Partnership Act. The plan isn’t done. We know the plan
isn’t done. So the timetable is, if we can get the modifications by the end of the year,
whatever, early in the spring, we’re going to work as quickly as we can to get a plan
that we can agree on. Because then we need public engagement, which is critical. And
obviously we have to be able to get out to the public in significant intensity to be able to get
the plan out. To maybe increase the modifications to the plan to be able to get it on the 2020
ballot, so a long way of saying not specific guidelines now. But it’s hurry, hurry, hurry.
Not slipshod hurry, just hurry. A lot of the work has been done in 2016. A lot of the work
has been done in 2018. We’re not starting from scratch again, but we certainly are tweaking
and modifying. [Offscreen Question]: So just a follow-up
so we are talking about mainly busses, though. Like, coordinating the bus systems? [Evans]: Quickly. Those types of things you
start with right away, but the plan, a long-term plan, and you remember a plan will involve
a lot of other things, potentially light rail. Lots of other things will be a part of the
plan. They wouldn’t immediately hit the ground. Obviously, other work has got to be
done and we have to work through that, but obviously the Michigan Avenue Corridor, to Detroit
through Wayne County, to Washtenaw, and up to the airport, it’s a critical part of
our thinking, but obviously it’s not something we roll out automatically. But certainly it’s
part of the, I’d say more of the dream part of the plan. [Offscreen Question]: I’m curious to know
why it took this long to to take this path of revising the bill and I don’t know if
you all saw the latest plan that RTA presented, it’s like a $10 billion plan, I’d be curious
to know if you all generally agree on that plan [Evans]: The initial RTA Plan? [Offscreen]: The latest one. It’s like a
$10 billion plan. [Evans]: Oh, the 2018 plan. I think we all,
and I don’t want to speak for everybody, because you get in trouble when you do that,
but I think we all found the RTA plan to be too cumbersome and we found it to be somewhat
divisive in terms of different interests, and so we just see the Municipal Partnership Act
as one that’s easier on everybody. Those who want to be involved can, those who don’t want to
be involved can’t. There’s always the ability to opt-in at a later date. We just
see this as a smoother vehicle to be able to: number 1, get on the ballot, number 2,
achieve the goals that we want in transit. I’ll take one more. [Offscreen Question]: County Executive, the
RTA had a 1.2 mill plan, last year, you tried to pursue a 1.5 mill plan. Do you have a number
in mind, especially if this is going to get smaller, is the mill going to go up or is
it going to go down, or are you really going to have to start some basic millage? [Evans]: I think you’re going to think I’m
waffling on this, but the truth of the matter is I really don’t know at this point. The
plan will probably be dealing with less revenue. But what that will allow us to do that will
be receptive to the communities involved. Still, it’s going to take a lot of work.
And so, I don’t know what the number is gonna be, but as soon as we know, you’ll
make us tell you anyway, Chad, so… Alright we’ll all stick around

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