2016 Get Local Party

At Last, A Regional Transit Plan for Metro Detroit

June 22, 2016 | |

Back in 2012 it took me more than two hours and a bus change to get to downtown Detroit from its Metro Airport–the 44th busiest airport in the world.

But finally, after decades of trying to create a modern transit system in southeast Michigan, regional leaders have a plan to make getting around much easier.

Earlier this month, Metro Detroit’s five-county Regional Transit Authority (RTA) released its Transit Master Plan, which outlines the future of transit investments including bus rapid transit lines along Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues and, get this—even express bus service to Detroit Metro Airport.

The plan also includes regular commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor, which would help everyday commuters traveling between to the two communities, but also those future train travelers between northern Michigan and Ann Arbor.

Few people get excited about master plans. This one, though, was a much-needed next step in building a real transit system in Detroit. It’s a major milestone for the region.

Now for the hard part, getting the voters to fund it. To pay for the 20 year, $4.6 billion plan, RTA officials are expected to propose a property tax millage in the four participating counties (Macomb, Washtenaw, Oakland, Wayne) for the Nov. 8 election. 

To learn more about the study and to see the official plans, check out the Master Plan section of the Regional Transit Authority website here: http://www.rtamichigan.org/projects/master-plan/

About the Author

​James Bruckbauer is Groundwork's transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at [email protected].

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