UPDATE: Transit millages win big across the state! See below for results from the August 5 ballot measures in Michigan as of 9 AM Wednesday morning (thank you to Michigan Public Transportation Association for sharing this information).
|SMART: Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties||Delta County||NOTA: Oakland County|
|Macomb County||Yes: 60%
|Escanaba Township||Yes: 53%
|Addison Township||Yes: 49%
|Oakland County||Yes: 74%
|Wells Township||Yes: 52%
|Orion Township||Yes: 50.5%
|Wayne County||Yes: 65%
|Manistee County||Yes: 71%
|Oxford Township||Yes: 54%
|CATA: Greater Lansing Area||Yes: 75%
|Marquette County||Yes: 76%
|SATA: Shiawassee County|
|MTA: Genesee County||Yes: 68%
|Ludington Mass Transportation Authority||Yes: 75%
|Owosso Township||Yes: 71%
|Barry County||Yes: 63%
|Niles City||Yes: 78%
|Bennington Township||Yes: 63%
|Branch County||Yes: 66%
|Roscommon County||Yes: 59%
|Caledonia Township||Yes: 62%
|Buchanan City||Yes: 75.5%
|St. Joseph County||Yes: 59%
|Perry City||Yes: 68%
|Crawford County||Yes: 77%
Advocates in greater Detroit have been organizing for weeks around the upcoming SMART millage measure. Their message is to Vote SMART on August 5 for a renewal and increase from .59 mills to 1 mill. This increased funding (for an owner of a $100,000 house, an additional $41 per year) will go towards operating costs and help replace aging buses.This Tuesday, August 5, many Michigan residents will vote to financially support their local transit agency. Ballot measures across the state are asking for renewals or increases in property tax millages to fund the operating costs of some of the state’s largest bus systems.
Trans4M members TRU and MOSES have been leading the charge in educating voters about the value of SMART, or the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation. The bus system serves Macomb County and the opt-in communities of Oakland and Wayne Counties with 234 buses on 43 fixed schedule routes serving nearly 12 million people annually. Megan Owens, Executive Director of TRU, stresses that SMART is essential for the region.
“No one should lose their job just because their car breaks down,” she told Trans4M. “No senior should feel stuck at home when they can no longer safely drive. We must keep the SMART buses rolling to provide this essential lifeline to tens of thousands of our neighbors.”
Across the state, several other bus agencies are also looking to increase revenue this August. Fare increases are one method, with many agencies already enacting fare increases multiple times in the past decade to offset rising operating costs. But fare increases do not fully account for the widening gap—caused by declining property values, reduced state and federal support and increased bus repair costs—in financial need to maintain existing bus routes and demand response services such as dial-a-ride or paratransit.
As we’ve shown, Michigan is experiencing an increase in bus ridership, with demand for better and expanded service routes in areas such as the SMART region. Residents and visitors of all ages, from millennials to seniors, use public transportation as a means to get to popular destinations, work, medical facilities, and more. This makes funding our bus agencies essential as a public service.
Other bus agencies will be asking property owners to support transit on August 5. If you live in any of these regions, make sure you get out to vote.
- Mass Transit Autority (MTA): Genesee County is requesting a renewal of a 0.4 mill property tax.
- SMART: Residents of Macomb County and the opt-in communities of Wayne and Oakland Counties are asked for a property tax increase from .59 to 1 mill.
- Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA): The City of Lansing, City of East Lansing, Meridian Township, Lansing Township, and Delhi Township are voting for a renewal of the current 3.007 mills for 5 years (2016-2020).
- Shiawassee Area Transportation Agency (SATA): Multiple townships are asked for levies to support SATA, including:
- Bennington Township levy up to .3333 mills for 4 years
- Caledonia Township millage,.19 mills annually for a period of 2 years
- Charter Township of Owosso, .333 mills each year for 4 years
- City of Perry, renew .25 mills annually for a period of 2 years
- Two southwest cities are seeking millages to expand their demand response services, including:
- City of Buchanan levy of 1 mill for 4 years
- City of Niles levy up to one-half mill for 2 years
Did we miss a ballot measure on transit in your area? Let us know in the comments.
Written by Laurel Burchfield, Trans4M Coordinator