Editorial: Amazon passed on Detroit due to mass transit; city, counties need plan

By Mike Renda, General Manager

It became very clear at the most recent Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting that our leaders are keenly aware that we must do something about the woeful state of our regions mass transit.

The discussion centered around our failed Amazon bid for HQ2. Amazon said that we lacked an efficient and comprehensive mass transit system and that cost us making the next round of potential cities in the race.

These same regional officials know that Indianapolis, Columbus and Nashville made the cut because their mass transit systems are far better than ours.

The RTA tried to come up with a mass transit plan for the voters’ consideration in 2016 but it was wildly expensive and it failed.

But that doesn't mean that you just crawl in a hole and hope that the problem just goes way. We need to chip away and start to develop a long term plan that fits our changing landscape.

In the past two months, county leaders have been working behind the scenes with the Regional Transit Authority to come up with a package that they can all get behind. 

This plan needs stay focused on more cost conscious options such as rapid bus routes and cross county commuter buses that will link Oakland and Macomb counties with downtown Detroit. 

And how can we be considered for future business investment when we literally have no mass transit to get to the airport??

This plan needs to reflect our leaders vision of the future mass transit framework and how it will help support our changing workforce for both suburban and downtown workers.

There has never been a more important time for our region to start down a path that creates viable mass transit vital for our long term economic growth.

The clock is ticking for a mass transit package to be put on the ballot for this November

County executives Evans - Patterson - Hackel and Mayor Duggan - we need a plan!
 

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