People’s Platform Transit News – November 2016

People’s Platform Transit News – November 2016
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Suburban opposition to the RTA

During a vote to adopt the Regional Master Transit Plan, the RTA’s 20 year vision for regional transit, representatives from Macomb and Oakland county, that sit on the RTA Board of Directors, voted against the plan. They did this to increase decision-making power for their counties over funding DDOT/SMART and changes to the plan. They advocated for the creation of a “Financial Allocation Committee” which would pull 1 member from the Board of Directors from each county and Detroit’s sole representative. This 5-member body would have say over transit funding split for DDOT and SMART and would make the final decision to changes in routes or other aspects of the Regional Master Transit Plan. The catch is that they would have to vote unanimously on any decision that is presented to this committee, and with Detroit only having 1 representative, this further shifts power to suburbanites, to make decisions that will affect the majority of bus riders that reside in Detroit.

Reasons we remained neutral on the RTA

● Detroiters, especially bus riders, did not have a sufficient voice in the planning process.
● Governance: Detroit only has one representative on the board, we don’t have control over the DDOT/SMART funding split. (Very little say in governance and lack of financial control)
● Based on the changes to the Regional Master Transit Plan, the creation of the “Financial Allocation Committee” gave us enough concern about the lack of control and inadequate representation.
● Concern that the RTA wants to act as a competing service provider instead of a transit coordinating authority. Though DDOT would continue to exist as it’s own entity, many Detroiters we’ve spoken to, expressed concern about the elimination of the department and routes that Detroiters use for their daily commute.
● Concern that Detroit’s share of taxes raised through the millage would support the QLine (M1-Rail) in 2027 and after.

What are the next steps from the Transit Justice Team?

If the RTA’s Regional Master Transit Plan is up for reconsideration, we will advocate that any plan must include Detroiters having a greater say. That means the RTA must offer more opportunities for Detroiters to provide input and foster participation in the planning process. Most importantly, the RTA must make an effort to include improving DDOT service as a main priority, and we seek the elimination of the financial allocation committee – which takes funding power away from Detroit and leave it to the mercy of suburbanite decision-makers.

The lack of adequate public transit in Detroit is a civil rights issue that has been ongoing for far too long. We will continue to organize bus riders around achieving transit justice, to ensure not only Detroiters have a greater say in the Regional Master Transit Plan, but that DDOT must continue to expand and improve service for ALL bus riders in the city, especially for individuals with disabilities and the elderly.

We will advocate to build more bus shelters, and upgrade facilities that service bus riders, and to continue to increase frequency, reduce commute times, and to provide better customer service for passengers. With winter on the way, NO bus rider in Detroit should have to endure long waits and long commute times. Transit justice is ensuring that Detroiters can access the vital institutions and be able to move freely around the city and the region.

“All neighborhoods deserve access and quality public transit!”
Join our Movement for Transit Justice!

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