Regional Transit Authority pitches transportation plan ahead of November ballot

The Regional Transit Authority of southeast Michigan got another opportunity to lay out their vision in front of 18 mayors and supervisors in western Wayne County and explain the benefits for their communities.

"It will expand opportunities to education, employment, entertainment," said Tiffany Gunter, RTA Deputy CEO. "It will create a world class system that's actually competitive with the automobile. It will bring premium transit options to the region and actually give us the opportunity to tap into about a billion dollars of currently unavailable federal and state resources."

Gunter says 92 percent of the region can't get to work in an hour using the current public transportation.

Many services cross the 8 Mile border through county lines for only six hours day.

"We have 67 percent of Detroiters leaving Detroit every day to go to work and conversely, we've got 72 percent of people in the other counties either traveling in between counties or into the City of Detroit to go to work every day," Gunter said. "So we're passing each other by, but we don't have a public transit that can support these movements."

As you may have heard, this would be a 20-year plan, but many elements completed in the first five years, and it's expected to be fully operational in 10 years.

The RTA is seeking a 1.2 property tax millage for the plan, and Gunter told the local leaders before that, they will see an 85 percent return.

"That says that for every county, whatever you raise in terms of revenue, in terms of millages, that you must return it back to that county in form of public transportation and/or operating dollars," Gunter said. "So that's sort of answering the question -- the age-old question of what's in it for me -- how do I get my investment back if I put something into this system."

Funding for the master transit plan will be on the November ballot.