Saturday, May 10, 2014

To: Governor Snyder & the Michigan Legislature

It was December of 2012. An apparent lame duck session in the Michigan Legislature full of a LOT of activity (let's actually not relive that), but the one shining ray of hope? THE RTA PASSED! Michigan! You joined the rest of every single other successful metropolitan area. And transit AND regional planning, which our area has consistently struggled with? Joys upon joys!

So we get started - hire a CEO, form the board, form the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC), we are rolling with a small budget from MDOT. More money has GOT to be coming, right? Gov. Snyder is all about the RTA, so this is a true priority, right?

We know the story. The money doesn't come through and the CEO quits. There is a small RTA staff keeping the administration going. The Board meets, and gets some of the important start-up work going. The CAC meets, and we get ourselves going - bylaws, structure, committees, leadership - all in place (in a pretty short time, when you are talking about organizing 50 people, I may add). Measures upon measures to get RTA funding rolling die in the halls of Michigan legislature. Is there a special building or wing of a building in Lansing for just dead RTA-related bills? Does the door still shut? Guys, all this paper could really end up being a fire hazard. But I digress....

The week, a House Committee ok'ed $400M to fix Michigan's messed up roads & bridges. I am most definitely not saying that this doesn't need to happen as a person that uses those roads & bridges (many times when I'd rather be using public transit). But think. At the RTA board member's May 21st Meeting, the board will be conducting interviews for a new RTA CEO. Should the job description more accurately say RTA CEO/Volunteer? If we aren't going to get serious about funding, we might as well be up front about it.


Love, the transit-loving citizens of SE Michigan