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Friday December 19, 2014
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Big Stretch

 

continued

So far, other commissioners' response is mixed. "I'm not saying I won't support it but won't say I will," says chair Rolland Sizemore Jr., who represents eastern Ypsilanti Township. "We came out of the meeting with a lot of questions." Kristin Judge, the new commissioner representing Pittsfield Township, agrees that "we need a regional countywide [transit] plan"-but then adds, "I don't know that people would be ready to put money into a millage with the way the economy is."

Unless AATA gets more money, though, any expansion outside the city will necessarily reduce service inside it. That's why advocates for the disabled are already worried about the proposal-and why everyone wants to know who will control the new authority.

The current AATA board is appointed by the mayor with council's approval. While Nacht soothingly suggested that Ann Arbor would retain a majority of seats on a regional board, Irwin has talked about giving other jurisdictions a stronger voice-a prospect that troubles Ann Arbor commissioner Barbara Bergman. "A countywide transit authority makes sense," says Bergman, "but I don't like the idea of township representatives having a majority."

Council member Stephen Rapundalo told Nacht that if he expects to "raise the millage . . . on the backs of Ann Arbor taxpayers," he'd better "go back to your board and make it clear that you are on the wrong track." But the county and AATA have the power to create a countywide authority and float a millage, no matter what the city thinks about it.

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