The RTA, Transit Justice and Racial Equity w/sample ballot
What is the Regional Master Transit Plan?
In 2012, the Michigan Legislature, with the governor’s approval, created the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA). It’s mission is to serve as a public transit authority that will “sit on top of” the existing public transit providers: Detroit Department of Transportation, “DDOT,” The Detroit Transportation Corporation, “The People Mover,” and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, “SMART.”
The Regional Master Transit Plan will span from 2016 to 2036, a 20-year plan, that will create a new paratransit service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, create new bus lines called Cross-County-Connectors, Airport Express, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Detroit-to-Ann Arbor Commuter Rail, coordinate schedules between DDOT and SMART, and it will introduce a universal fare card for use on all bus lines.
Representation vs. Ridership
Detroit passengers of the DDOT system represent the majority of bus riders in the city and overall region.
Governance in the RTA is tipped towards the suburban counties, and they have far more power to make decisions on funding for the DDOT and SMART and major changes to the Regional Master Transit Plan. We have to ask ourselves, is one vote on the RTA executive board worth ours this November 8th?
Transit Justice – does this plan achieve that?
How will bus service improve for the majority of Detroiters that do not live on the main corridors? Why does the Regional Master Transit Plan emphasize better service for commuters to travel to job centers inside and out of Detroit, yet make no mention for improved service in the neighborhoods?
Will DDOT feeder bus lines (like Crosstown, Plymouth, Van Dyke) be improved or do you have to live on a main street for better transit service?
Does the Regional Master Transit Plan improve service for the majority of Detroiters on routes where waits of up to or more than an hour is common?
We do not know how much or if fares will rise in the near term after the ballot proposal vote for the RTA.
How much will the RTA bus lines like the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Cross-County-Connectors, and Airport Express cost? Will it be affordable for the average bus rider in Detroit?
Future of DDOT
Does DDOT stand to risk reducing or eliminating bus lines that will exist on Grand River, where a Cross-County-Connector line will be introduced, or on Gratiot, where a Bus Rapid Transit line will eventually be built?
How will bus service improve for Detroiters that use, for example, Joy Rd/Tireman, Mack, Schoolcraft, and Vernor – routes that aren’t seeing improvements in frequency and short wait times?
Q-Line as an example of transit gentrification
The M1-Rail, now known as the Q-Line, is a prime example of private and federal tax money being used for private gain. The primary benefit of the 3.3 mile streetcar line is for economic development in downtown Detroit, Midtown, and New Center area, as it excludes the North End community and other neighborhoods north of the Boulevard.
When the RTA assumes control of Q-Line in 2027, will our tax money be used to financially support a limited streetcar line that excludes Detroiters north of the ‘Boulevard?”
On November 8th, Detroiters will vote on a ballot proposal to fund the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA). All registered voters in Detroit will be asked to vote either: yes or no to financially support the RTA.