RTA FAQs

Southeast MI Regional Transportation Authority :: Frequently Asked Questions

How and why was the RTA created?

  • The RTA law was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in December 2012 to create an agency to coordinate, oversee and improve transit for southeast Michigan.
  • Southeast Michigan needs more and better bus service and rapid transit to connect people to jobs, help families save money, and make our region a more attractive place to live and work. County lines have been transit barriers here for too long.
  • Every other major metropolitan area has shown that effective transit requires an effective RTA to ensure effective coordination and to manage major regional transit improvement projects.

Who’s in the RTA?

  • The RTA includes all of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties, including Detroit.
  • Other counties can join in. There is no provision for any city or county to leave.

What will the RTA do?

  • The RTA will coordinate and oversee existing transit providers throughout the region, including DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation), SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority For Regional Transportation), and AATA (Ann Arbor Transportation Authority). It will NOT replace or take over existing agencies (in the short or mid-term).
  • The RTA will plan, fund, and operate a Rapid Transit service along Woodward, Gratiot, and other major corridors. Each new route must be studied and funded individually before launching service.
  • The RTA can propose to the voters new funding for regional transit, likely a vehicle registration fee of $20-40 annually to raise nearly $100 million for improved and expanded transit.

Who will run the RTA?

  • The RTA will be overseen by a Board of Directors appointed by the County Executives (2 each), the Detroit Mayor (1 appointee), and the Governor (1 non-voting board chair).
  • The board members cannot be elected officials or employees of the counties, city, or transit agencies and have “substantial business, financial, or professional experience ” relevant to transit or corporate operations.
  • Each board member will serve fixed 1-3 year terms.
  • Most board votes will be majority rule, except: 1) 7/9ths with one from each jurisdiction to place a tax or fee on the ballot, 2) Unanimous approval required for operating rail or acquiring a transit provider.
  • By March 19, the Board of Directors must be appointed. Within 30 days of when the Board is in place, the Board will meet, likely in early April.
  • The Board will hire a CEO to manage daily operations of the RTA, likely in summer 2013.

How can riders and others be involved?
The Board will develop a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, including:

  • Two people from each county and two from Detroit;
  • 40% transit users, including 25% of those users as seniors or people with disabilities;
  • 20% organizations representing senior citizens and people with disabilities; and
  • 40% representing business, labor, community and faith-based groups.

By August, the RTA will have a public website detailing their budget, policies, and more.