Patterson's generous proposal for regional transit
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has placed a regional transit proposal on the table which, if approved by voters, would raise $1.2 billion over 20 years from Oakland County taxpayers. Detroit, Wayne County, and Washtenaw County rejected that proposal. The County Executive's proposal calls for taxing only the 24 communities that have opted in to the Act 196 taxing authority supporting SMART bus.
Oakland's $1.2 billion offer follows the model used in other regions such as Denver, Portland and Seattle which employ special assessment districts for transit. They vote on the plan only in those areas that will receive services relatively commensurate with their tax payments.
Oakland's offer honors the election results for the regional transit plan rejected by Oakland County voters and voters throughout the rest of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) region in November of 2016. Aprecinct-level map of those voting results tells the complete story. Most of the "yes" votes were concentrated in communities in southeast Oakland County which have opted in to the Oakland County Transportation Authority and that would have received services from the RTA.
Voters in 38 Oakland County Communities that have historically opted-out of the Act 196 taxing authority voted "no." In fact, one Act 196 opt-in community, Troy, Oakland County's largest city, also voted "no."
Oakland County believes by focusing the voting and taxation efforts in those Oakland County communities that have consistently voted to tax themselves to support transit and that actually receive meaningful transit services as a result makes sense. It would make an RTA ballot measure more likely to pass next time around as well.
It is worth noting that Macomb County stands with us on a reduced taxing footprint.