June 16, 2011
AATA board endorses transit plan,
paves way for regional authority
Ann Arbor — The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide) Board of Directors approved a resolution today endorsing its comprehensive 30-year Transit Master Plan and authorizing staff to forward the plan to a preliminary regional board that will oversee its implementation. The resolution marks an important step in turning the countywide Transit Master Plan into a reality and establishing representation for all Washtenaw County communities.
Endorsement of the transit plan comes after a year of intensive research, planning, community discussions and public outreach to determine the long-term transit needs and goals of Washtenaw County. TheRide held more than 60 community meetings, conducted workshops with 45 county leaders, interviewed more than 150 community leaders and conducted online and paper questionnaires completed by more than 2,000 residents.
The Transit Master Plan outlines a 30-year strategy that addresses various public transit needs in the county. The strategy will be implemented in incremental steps with continuous input from the communities, government entities and other local transit service providers.
Following the board’s endorsement of the plan, Board Chair Jesse Bernstein said, “This is the first step in moving forward the implementation of the Transit Master Plan to a regional body whereby local communities will be empowered to work together to determine transit service and funding levels that will achieve the plan’s vision and meet their needs.”
TheRide CEO Michael Ford added, “The resolution signifies an important step in implementing countywide transit. Community leaders and residents throughout Washtenaw County have shared their vision for countywide public transportation. We have used their input to formulate a robust plan and can now move forward, working together as a region, to fulfill that vision.”
TheRide staff is currently working with local government officials from all of Washtenaw County’s townships, cities and villages to develop a preliminary regional board that will refine the transit service plan, by-laws and funding sources. This unincorporated Act 196 Authority Board will be a forum for local communities to make decisions on the types of transit services that will be implemented in the county.
The preliminary regional board will develop the first phase of implementing the transit master plan and will take steps to formally incorporate a countywide Act 196 authority. Each community will have a 30-day window to decide if they want to continue participating in the countywide authority. Should a community choose not to participate as a member of the incorporated authority, they would not contribute funding or receive transit service.
“We were asked by many community leaders to lead the charge for developing a Transit Master Plan for the county and we were happy to step up and kick-start the discussion,” said Ford. “TheRide’s staff will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the new Act 196 representatives, but it’s now time for Washtenaw County’s communities to work together to decide the best course of action for implementing the plan over the next 5, 10 and 30 years.”
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