Wayne County municipal leaders say YES for regional transit

For Immediate Release: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016

Contact: Sara Wurfel, Truscott Rossman swurfel@truscottrossman.com

517-599-3470 (c), 517-487-9320 (o)

Plan, millage includes significant benefits for cities across Wayne County, region

Dearborn, Mich – From Detroit, the region’s largest city, to the county’s cities and townships of all sizes, Wayne County municipal leaders united today to urge residents to vote YES for regional transit on Nov. 8.

They join more than 315 businesses and labor organizations, hospitals and health care providers, interfaith leaders and senior and disability advocates representing more than 1.5 million people as those who believe the time is now to make regional transit a reality for Southeast Michigan.

For Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, a YES vote is the solution that will finally connect the region and provide desperately needed transit services. “A comprehensive public transit system is essential to offer a high quality of life to everyone throughout the region. It fosters a competitive business environment that attracts investment and talent, and most importantly, it connects people to opportunity. This transit plan helps remove barriers to employment, education and health care while spurring economic development that benefits all in the region.”

Jack O’Reilly, mayor of Dearborn and past president of the Michigan Municipal League, sees regional transit as the next essential step for keeping cities like his moving forward. “There are few things more critical for Dearborn and the region than connected regional transit. It will make a real difference in the lives of our residents. It will increase independence of our seniors and people to disabilities. It will give people who need transportation the means to get to work and career opportunities, and will help employers fill jobs. Importantly, it will generate a return on investment that ensures strong, vibrant and livable communities – now and for generations to come.”

A staggering 92 percent of jobs in Southeast Michigan cannot be reached within 60 minutes on existing transit, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). And according to U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly 174,000 people commute from Wayne County to Macomb, Oakland or Washtenaw counties for work every day. That’s in addition to more than 95,000 people from across the region who commute daily to Wayne County for work.

“As municipal leaders, we know we can and must do better to truly connect our communities,” said William Wild, mayor of the city of Westland. “Disconnected regional transit limits mobility options and holds the region back. A YES vote for regional transit will help our city’s residents, workers, families and businesses immeasurably.”

“The most important thing we can do in this region is get people to work,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We know that a large number of Detroiters have difficulty getting to jobs because of the lack of good regional transit options. This plan will significantly expand transportation in our region and be an incredible economic catalyst.”

Other Wayne County mayors and municipal leaders endorsing the vote YES for regional transit ballot initiative include:

  • Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter
  • Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp
  • Redford Township Supervisor Tracey Schultz Kobylarz

Specific benefits of the Regional Master Transit Plan for Wayne County include:

  • More than 30,000 new jobs supported over the next 20 years.
  • Gross regional product will grow by approximately $2.73 billion with real personal income growing by approximately another $1.25 billion.
  • Expanded paratransit (specialized door-to-door) services throughout the region to help increase independence for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • New BRT service along Gratiot Ave. to Mount Clemens, along Michigan Ave to Detroit Metro Airport, and along Woodward to Pontiac.
  • Numerous improved cross-county connector routes, along 8 Mile, Grand River Ave. and Greenfield Road, Fort/Eureka, Van Dyke Rd., Jefferson, and Plymouth.
  • New local service along Ypsi-Canton Crossing, Middlebelt, Ford Road, connecting Northville along Seven Mile to Haggerty and Eight Mile, Dequindre, and Groesbeck.
  • Commuter express connecting Livonia to Plymouth and Ann Arbor, and Ford Road to Canton.
  • Airport Express from downtown Detroit to Detroit Metro Airport.

The plan also includes a Taxpayer Protection Clause that guarantees against an increase, renewal or redirect of any money dedicated to connecting Southeast Michigan’s four counties, unless pre-approved by the voters.

These Wayne-County based businesses, health and hospital providers, organizations, unions and elected officials have also joined the call for a YES vote for regional transit in Southeast Michigan:

  • Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • City of Wayne
  • Clark Hill PLC
  • Detroit Catholic Social Services
  • Detroit Experience Factory
  • Detroit Jews for Justice
  • Detroit Regional Chamber
  • DTE Energy
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors
  • Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit
  • Member of Congress: Reps. John Conyers, Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence
  • Metro Detroit AFL-CIO
  • Miller Canfield
  • Penske Corp.
  • Rock Ventures
  • Quicken Loans
  • SEIU Local 1
  • Senior Power Days at Belle Isle
  • Gary Peters and former Sen. Carl Levin.
  • Society of St. Vincent De Paul
  • State Reps. Stephanie Chang and Fred Durhal III
  • State Sen. Bert Johnson and Coleman Young, Jr.
  • The Henry Ford
  • Transportation Riders United (TRU)

For more information about Citizens for Connecting our Communities, visit www.voteyesforregionaltransit.com, follow on Twitter @yesfortransit and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/voteyesforregionaltransit.

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