RTA selects Citizens Advisory Committee Members

Southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority will soon be able to draw on a reservoir of grassroots knowledge as it makes decisions on the area's transportation future. The agency has finally decided who will be sitting on their new Citizens Advisory Committee.

A special RTA committee, consisting of Board Members Lisa Franklin (Detroit) and Liz Gerber (Washtenaw) and MDOT employee Shanelle Jackson, who serves as the RTA's Director of Outreach & Strategic Relations, wrapped up the CAC member selection process on Aug. 19.

From a pool of 70 applicants, they chose to seat 30 people. (SEE LIST BELOW). State law requires a minimum of 10 members but no maximum. Terms for these members last two years.

"We're excited," Jackson told Mode Shift. "The goal of the [RTA] board members is to make sure that we have an active thriving Citizens Advisory Committee. They're looking forward to the group beginning its part."

Under the authority of Michigan's Public Act 387, the CAC can make reports and recommendations at RTA board meetings. Specifically, it's empowered to: review and comment on the region's comprehensive regional public transit service plan and annual updates; advise the board regarding the coordination of functions between different owners and operators of public transportation facilities; review and comment on a specialized services coordination plan; and upon the request of the board, provide recommendations on other matters concerning public transportation.

The new Citizen Advisory Committee members are a mix of people from Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties and the City of Detroit. As law dictates, 40 percent of them are public transportation users, 40 percent are individuals representing businesses, labor, community and faith-based organizations and 20 percent come from organizations representing senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

During the last RTA governing board meeting on Aug. 7, Board Member Franklin called the list of applicants "very very impressive" and added that it was "very hard to narrow it to 30."

In order to qualify for CAC membership applicants needed to show they were knowledgeable about the RTA, know how to use public transit, be willing to advocate for the RTA and promote service and be familiar with regional service providers, transportation organizations and advocacy groups. They were judged on their communication skills, desire to participate in public service, past teamwork experience and history in advocacy or work on public transit issues.

The RTA has notified the new CAC Members of their selection and is waiting to hear back that they are still willing to serve. The next step in the process is setting up an introductory meeting for them.

Jackson told Mode Shift she expects that meeting will take place in mid-September, though the exact time and place needs to be determined. After that the CAC's future will be decided by the group itself.

"After we have our first meeting where we do introductions, she said,"they need to elect officers and then they need to determine what they want to be their goals moving forward. ... It will be all led by them and their elected leadership."

New RTA Citizens Advisory Committee Members

Adrianna Jordan, Wayne

Al Martin, Detroit

Alice Landino, Macomb

Ara Topouzian, Oakland

Arthur Vardiman, Detroit

Ava Johnson, Wayne

Brian Sadek, Detroit

Elizabeth Luther, Detroit

Eric Wegner, Oakland

Eufayba Touray, Macomb

Hannah Kelley, Detroit

Henry M. Johnson,

Jason Zogg, Detroit

John Waterman, Washtenaw

Julie Funke, Oakland

Ken Veenstra, Oakland

Kit Dewyer ,  Wayne

Larry Krieg, Washtenaw

Lawrence Dilworth, Detroit

Leo Hanifin, Wayne

LuAnne Bullington, Washtenaw

Megan Owens, Oakland

Michelle Katopodes, Macomb

Patty Fedewa, Detroit

Prashanth Guruaja, Washtenaw

Robert Polk, Detroit

Sandra Turner, Detroit

Tami Salisbury, Oakland

Tina Abbate Marzolf, Oakland

Todd Scott, Oakland


Correction: Two names, Adrianna Jordan and Alice Landino, were accidentally left out of the CAC list in an earlier version of this story due to a formatting error. They have been added.


The next RTA Board meeting is Sept. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Macomb County Community College (South Campus), located at 14500 12 Mile Road in Warren, Michigan.

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