August 17, 2012

Ann Arbor transit expansion takes step forward

Mich.-based Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) approved the four-party Public Transportation Agreement and Articles of Incorporation at its meeting. This action follows previous approvals for expansion from the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and the city councils of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

“Over the past year and a half, we have worked with local governments, the county, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to develop a process to meet local and countywide transportation needs,” said AATA Board Chair Jesse Bernstein. “This is an exciting step — there is now a clear path for local governments to move forward to improve existing public transportation services in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and to expand access to underserved areas of our county.”

Under the terms of the four-party Public Transportation Agreement, several steps remain to create and operate a new authority:

  • The AATA must finalize a five-year transit program and publicize it throughout the county. All Washtenaw County citizens are invited to learn about the five-year transit program at any one of eight public meetings scheduled in September. All meeting dates are listed at MovingYouForward.org. The program will be posted to the website in early September.
  • The AATA board and representatives from other communities serving on the “unincorporated 196 board” will then request the County Clerk to file incorporation papers to create a new authority.
  • AATA will notify all local governments of the filing. Each local government will have 30 days to respond as to whether they will participate in the new authority. Communities that opt out will not be part of the authority nor receive any services paid for with voter-approved funding.
  • To become operational, the new authority will need to request and receive voter approval of a funding mechanism to pay for new services provided by the new transit authority.

In addition to the above requirements, AATA will continue our outreach and engagement with stakeholders from across the county to reach a consensus on the scope of the five-year program.

The draft five-year transit program proposes several improvements in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti: more frequent service, extended service on weekdays and weekends and more direct service (limiting the need for transfers) to be provided on major corridors and several local routes. Ann Arbor riders will also be able to access communities beyond the city's borders via a combined, comprehensive system of fixed routes, expanded on-demand service and regional connector routes.

Those outside of Ann Arbor will be able to use on-demand services and regional connector services to get to other locations within their region, or to connect to services allowing them to get to Ann Arbor and other communities within the county.

 

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