Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Michigan Voters Reject|Mass-Transit Tax

DETROIT (CN) — A millage proposal intended to improve mass transit options in southeastern Michigan did not gain enough traction at the voting booths to pass on Tuesday.

The 20-year 1.2 mill property tax would have raised $4.6 billion to establish a regional transit system, but it appeared the cost and long commitment were simply too much for some citizens to stomach. The owner of a $200,000 home would have been liable for a $120 tax, according to estimates from the Regional Transit Authority.

Among the services in the ambitious proposal were rail lines from Ann Arbor to Detroit and airport shuttles. Main roads like Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan Avenues would have offered a coordinated bus rapid-transit system.

While Wayne and Washtenaw County voters approved the proposal by relatively comfortable margins, it lost in affluent Oakland County by about 1,100 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Macomb County rejected it by more than 74,000 votes, which was enough to cancel out the gains made in Wayne and Washtenaw.

Overall, the proposal lost by about 18,000 votes.

The idea of installing dependable, unified mass transit in the Detroit metro area has sputtered for decades.

Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority, told the Detroit News on Tuesday when the proposal was still in limbo that if it was defeated, they would reevaluate their strategy.

"We'll have to understand where the problems were, if it does fail, and do some reassessment and I'll need to speak to my board and talk to our operatives to see why if it does go down where the problems were and what will we need to do differently," Ford said.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.