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Sunday September 23, 2018
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Another Transit Try?

It might be back on the ballot this fall.

by James Leonard

From the March, 2018 issue

Two years after voters sank a proposed $3 billion four-county regional transit millage by one slim percentage point, supporters hope to get it back on the ballot this November. While there's been talk of limiting it to just the two counties that supported the millage--Wayne and Washtenaw--that would "require new legislation and a new legal process," explains county commission chair Andy LaBarre. "If we use the existing regional transit millage, all four counties would participate.

"Would all four support it? I don't know."

There's the rub. Oakland County executive Brooks Patterson recently insisted that nine Oakland communities be allowed to opt out of any revived plan. "As a politician, Patterson needs to ask if there is enough in it that's a value to [Oakland County]," LaBarre says. "But that doesn't mean he won't support it."

LaBarre thinks the last millage failed "because Trump voters in Macomb County voted against it." But this year, several Macomb communities are running road millages, which could also work against passage of the regional tax.

Any decision to proceed, LaBarre says, "depends on the executive leaders of the counties. If any county executive wanted out, it could wreck it for this ballot." But he's "hopeful that it will be on the ballot in all four counties. It would be wrong not to do that. I'm not ready to give up, and I don't think anybody should."

LaBarre is convinced that even if transit doesn't pass this year, it would just "be a delay in the inevitable. You can fight the future for only so long. We are generations behind on this ... People want this. Good Lord, give us regional transit!"     (end of article)

[Originally published in March, 2018.]


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