LISTEN: Will a new regional transit proposal make the ballot in 2018 in Detroit?

The new FAST express-bus service operated by SMART. | Photo via SMART

Last night we attended the annual meeting of the advocacy group Transit Riders United, where the fate of the Regional Transit Authority plan was the main topic of conversation. The issue has been thrust into the fore following Amazon’s decision not to include Detroit in its list of 20 finalists for its HQ2 project.


Will the political leaders of Oakland and Macomb Counties climb on board after largely sitting on the sidelines in 2016? Will a new proposal make it to the ballot in 2018? Should Washtenaw and Wayne Counties, which approved the RTA in 2016, go it alone this time?

I put these and other questions to Paul Hillegonds, chairman of the RTA board, and Robert Cramer, deputy general manager for the SMART bus system. They also told us about some of the new improvements planned, including a universal fare card that could one day be used to pay fares on, say, a DDOT bus, the QLine and a potentially forthcoming Detroit-to-Ann Arbor passenger train.

Later in the show, we talk to Dave Gifford, who won an advocacy award from TRU for his tireless work promoting Detroit’s public transportation on social media.

Listen above or find us and subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded.

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