Detroit's Failed Regional Transit Plan Strikes a Blow to the City's Revival
"So many breaks have gone Detroit's way the past few years that we were bound to lose a big one sooner or later," begins an article by John Gallagher. He continues without leaving the reader in suspense:
That loss came Tuesday when voters rejected the Regional Transit Authority millage proposal. Tax-adverse residents in Macomb County shot it down in such numbers that they overcame a break-even vote in Oakland and approval of the measure in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. The total vote was what counted.
With the vote, the region "lost its best hope in decades to build a unified and efficient public transportation system in the four-county area," writes Gallagher.
As noted in an article by Angie Schmitt in October, regional transportation has always been a tough sell in the traditional home of the American auto manufacturers. It took 40 years and 23 attempts to establish the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan in 2012. Even Tuesday's referendum had to come back from the dead once to make it to the ballot.
According to Gallagher, the failure of voters to approve the regional transit plan earlier this week strikes a symbolic blow to Detroit's revitalization. That revitalization, however, has focused in the area of downtown, where distances are walkable and transit options are relatively rich. Meanwhile, people like James Robertson are forced to walk 21 miles on his commute between his home in Detroit and his job in Rochester Hills.