Ford is stepping up to support regional transit in southeast Michigan. The company is joining a broad coalition of businesses, transport providers and civic leaders supporting a proposal to create a high-quality regional transit system for Metro Detroit.
Residents in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties in southeast Michigan will have a chance to vote on a transportation millage proposal to help fund regional transit on
If approved by voters, the Regional Master Transit Plan will connect more than 2,600 miles, four million residents and nearly two million existing jobs across the four counties. It would bring bus rapid transit, a commuter line between Detroit and Ann Arbor and service to Detroit Metro Airport.
“As we’ve expanded our business model to be both an automotive and mobility company, we understand the importance of providing transportation solutions like those proposed in the regional transit plan,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, The Americas. “A strong regional transit system that meets the mobility needs of both employees and employers is important for our region to grow and compete.”
Other major metropolitan areas in the country outpace southeast Michigan when it comes to regional transit investment. For example, the four-county region currently invests $69 per capita in public transportation. By comparison, Cleveland invests $177 and Chicago invests $283 per capita.
The lack of investment makes it harder for people throughout the region to get where they need to go. According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), approximately 92 percent of jobs in Southeast Michigan can’t be reached within 60 minutes on existing transit.
If passed, the 1.2 millage property tax would start in 2017. It’s expected to raise about $150 million per year and cost the owner of a home assessed at $78,856 – the average in Southeast Michigan, according to the RTA – about $95 per year. The proposed ballot initiative includes a taxpayer protection clause that guarantees against any increase, renewal or redirection of any money dedicated to connecting southeast Michigan’s four counties without approval from voters.
Other major businesses supporting the transit proposal include Penske Corporation, Lear Corporation, DTE Energy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures.