Ann Arbor Observer cover
Mixer Playground at Fuller Park. Collage by Brenda Miller Slomovits.
Ann Arbor Weather:
Friday August 17, 2018
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
drawing of a bus stop sign with dollar sign

Transit Vote

AAATA asks voters to renew and restore.

by James Leonard

From the August, 2018 issue

When voters overwhelmingly approved a five-year millage expanding bus service to Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township in 2014, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority became the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. The five years are up in 2020, and the AAATA is asking voters to renew and restore the 0.7 mill tax on the August 7 ballot.

"Everything we've promised we've put out on the street," says AAATA CEO Matt Carpenter. "The last little bit, the cherry on top, went in in January: an express route between Ypsilanti Township across from the Marriot south of 94 on Huron into Ann Arbor, the hospital, and downtown."

Though nationally transit ridership is declining due to low fuel prices, a hot economy, and ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, Carpenter reports that locally "all ridership is up and breaking records. It's up five percent on the fixed-route services in the last year. It took a little bit of a dip, but now it's at an all-time high: 6.8 million rides" annually.

Renewing a tax is one thing. Restoring one to its original level is another. Because the state's Headlee Amendment limits property tax revenue increases, over the last five years the original 0.7 millage has edged down to 0.686.

"Renewing the millage allows us to continue the services that we brought in over the last five years," explains Carpenter. "Restoring it on top of the renewal [means the] very small amount of money that's additional will be put back into services."

Most likely one particular service. "We have crowding on Sundays on Route 4 between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti," says Carpenter. Restoring the full millage would bring in about $95,000 a year--enough, says Carpenter, "to pay for one more trip every seven days."

The AAATA can share information about the millage, but can't directly advocate for passage. As it did in 2014, a group called Washtenaw Partners for Transit is running the campaign. So far there's no opposition

Why is the renewal on the August ballot

...continued below...


instead of November? Carpenter says the timing was chosen in part because earlier this year, there was an effort to bring back some version of the Regional Transit Authority tax proposal that was defeated in 2016. The RTA would create a unified system serving Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, and "we wanted to put some space between us and give them a clear field," Carpenter says. Suburban opposition killed the RTA revival--but by then, the AAATA was already on the summer ballot.     (end of article)

 


On July 30, 2018, Peter Fink wrote:
Re your article on Transit Vote: Millage RATE seems beside the point.

The tax dollars generated and spent is what counts. Check out budget line "Local Property Taxes" in the financials. That line has gone up 50%(!) in four years: $10.4mm in '14 to $15.6mm '18 budget. Reason for Aug vote is BS too - who's kidding who? Put it in Aug so it will slide in with almost no one voting but interested parties. Had some lame reason for last "off season" vote too.

 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Hospital Lodging Programs
La Taqueria Is Open at Last
After a "ten-month rollercoaster" with the city
Sabine Bickford
Photo: Hey, Dad, Wait for Me !!!
Three Summer Closings
Great Plains Burger, Pangborn Collection, and Life is Good
Sabine Bickford
Coffeehouses, Tea Rooms, and Juice Bars Restaurants
Restaurants with Birthday Discount
A clickable zoomable map
Who'll Go to Lansing?
Nine candidates chase two seats in the state legislature.
James Leonard
A Day with the Burn Crew
Setting fire to Mary Beth Doyle Park. Very carefully.
Patrick Dunn
Fairer Skies for Fairdene
A Saline condo project is back on track.
Sheila Beachum Bilby
PFC News
"She loves the co-op more deeply than anyone we've had in many years," says Jaime Magiera.
Eve Silberman
Regent Hotel
KouZina
Landscaping. We design, build, and maintain.