Red light: Regional transit won't be on Nov. 7 ballot

- Plans to connect metro Detroit with public transportation stalled on Thursday.

Despite demands from the people and policy leaders, Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties could not reach an agreement to get it done.

The Regional Transit Board voted whether to allow voters to vote for a new regional bus system, called RTA.  

 "Why did Amazon say no on HQ2, because we don't have mobility infrastructure to get people around our region," said Andy Meisner, Oakland County treasurer.

The plan for the RTA would include a tax that would generate about $5.4 billion in revenue.  But representatives on the board from Macomb and Oakland County don't believe the plan, as written, should be voted on in November.  

"We had an election in 2016, less than two years ago, and the people voted no," said Chuck Moss, Oakland County regional transit member.

And under the law, to get the RTA vote on the ballot, one representative from each of the county must vote yes, but that's not going to happen. 

"It's not dead, nothing is going to die," said Khalil Rahal, assistant Wayne County executive. "Even if the vote goes down today we're going to wake up tomorrow, we're going to figure out a better way to improve SMART, talk with DDOT and figure out ways to do this in 2019, 2020."

Rahal mentioned SMART. That's the current regional bus service for all of Macomb County and parts of Wayne and Oakland.  There is a millage renewal on the August 7 ballot, which has nothing to do with the new RTA proposal, but it's confusing. 

At the end of the day, the board voted not to allow the public to vote on RTA in November. However, a SMART bus renewal for those cities that have SMART, will be on the August 7 ballot.

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