Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority
A plan to create a Regional Transit Authority for Southeast Michigan has recently had movement in the Michigan Senate. The Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority would coordinate public transportation within a region consisting of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. The need for a reliable source of public transportation is a vital step in helping to improve the City of Detroit and the Southeastern Michigan region. Many major cities that are thriving economically and have growing populations are able to accomplish this in part because of their Regional Transit Authorities. Regional Transit Authorities are able to offer safe, reliable, convenient, and affordable modes of transit to jobs and for other important purposes such as leisure, support of business, and local communities in the surrounding metro areas. With the rising cost of gas prices, the need for an efficient, alternative mode of transportation is necessary. The bills that would create “The Southeastern Michigan Regional Transit Authority Act” are provided below with a brief explanation:
Senate Bill 909 would create the "Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority Act" to coordinate public transit within a region consisting of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.
The bill would do the following:
-- Allow a county that was not included in the public transit region to petition the Authority
to become part of the region and the Authority.
-- Provide for the establishment of a board to direct and govern the Authority, and require
a supermajority or unanimous vote for certain actions.
-- Require the Authority to use competitive solicitation for all authorized purchases, subject
to certain exceptions.
-- Require the board to create a citizens' advisory committee, which could make
recommendations to the board.
-- Require the board to create a public transit provider advisory council, which could make
recommendations to the board regarding specific issues.
Senate Bill 911 would amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to authorize the proposed
Authority to charge a fee in addition to the regular vehicle registration fee for comprehensive
transportation purposes, if approved by electors in the public transit region.
--The fee could not exceed $1.20 for each $1,000 or fraction of $1,000 of the vehicle's list price
used in calculating the regular registration fee.
--A regional fee proposal could not be placed on the ballot unless it were adopted by a resolution
of the Authority's board of directors and if a majority of voters in the public transit region approved the fee.
Senate Bill 912 would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to provide that a zoning
ordinance would be subject to the proposed Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority Act.
Senate Bill 967 Which I sponsored would authorize the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) or a local road agency to enter into an operating license agreement with a Regional Transit Authority to operate a public transit system on the streets and highways of the State.
--As part of the agreement, MDOT or the local road agency could designate at least one lane
of a street or highway as a dedicated public transit lane. Such a lane could be reserved for
the exclusive use of public transit vehicles operated by a Regional Transit Authority during
periods determined by MDOT or the local road agency.
--Lanes designated and marked as dedicated public transit lanes would be subject to the same provisions as high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes under the Michigan Vehicle Code.
The RTA bills were signed into law by the Governor, and the Authority is waiting for the board memebers to be selected by the governing bodies of the counties included in the plan.