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I've got several transit updates for you today, including potential for increased SMART funding, a backdoor solution to the RTA's funding needs, and lots of transit in the news. Read on . . .
State leaders found a backdoor way to provide the RTA the funding necessary to hire a new CEO and staff. The Michigan Senate supported a $2 million supplemental appropriation for the RTA, but the House opposed it. Ultimately the supplemental passed without the RTA funding. However, the Governor and legislative leadership have committed to $900,000 from current funds and another $1.1 million in the 2014-15 budget that will be debated this summer.
Thank you to everyone who sent emails to the legislature. We clearly got their attention! While it is not money in the bank today, if the legislators follow through, it should be enough to fund the RTA’s staff and operations through 2016.
Also, applications for the new RTA CEO are due in tomorrow, with interviews over the next month and a CEO in place by early summer. The RTA Board is slowly proceeding toward updating the Regional Transit Plan and planning the first three rapid transit lines. The RTA’s progress is not exciting nor quick, but important and moving in the right direction.
A Busy Week for Detroit Area Transit News
– Wall Street Journal: Detroit’s Broken Buses Vex a Broke City
– Metro Times cover story: How Detroit ended up with the worst public transit
– metromode: Three Common Sense Solutions for Local Transit (That Metro Detroit Isn’t Doing)
– Detroit News: Detroit looking at options for bus service
– Detroit News: $6.3M dose of cold reality: Troy Transit Center sits empty amid dispute
– WDET news: Can Detroit use Mass Transit to Attract Big Business? Expert says Yes
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