Michigan Now

Regional Transportation Authority legislation revived

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers have revived legislation in the House Transportation Committee that would establish a regional transportation authority in the state. The legislation was proposed earlier this year, but negotiations flatlined in the state Senate.

Now in its 24th attempt, House Bill 5309 would organize a transportation authority between Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties as well as the city of Detroit. Michigan has been trying to establish an RTA for four decades.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, would include representatives from the four suburban Detroit counties, the City of Detroit and appointees from the Governor's office.

Both Democratic and Republican business leaders and officials from metro Detroit and the Governor's office testified in Lansing Sept. 27 on the economic benefits of creating the authority. If passed through the Legislature, it would help garner millions in federal transportation dollars, which would support the authority and the M1 light rail project on Woodward Ave. in Detroit, and would create a bus rapid transit system for SE Michigan. It would also help coordinate and streamline SMART and DDOT bus routes.

Read the whole article from the Detroit News here.

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