Momentum building in campaign to enhance transit

But hard work remains until May 6 election

Momentum is building in the campaign to enhance public transportation in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, but a strong effort will be needed to win the May 6 ballot proposal.

If voters approve the 0.7 mill proposal, residents in the communities served by the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority will see expanded evening and weekend hours, more buses on busy routes, and expanded options for seniors and people with disabilities.

In the last several weeks, the ballot proposal has been endorsed by dozens of civic and business organizations, political and civil rights groups, elected officials and candidates, labor unions, and leaders of institutions across the region.

Earlier this month, the presidents of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College—Mary Sue Coleman, Susan Martin and Rose B. Bellanca—joined together to support the proposal.

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber has backed the proposal, as has the NAACP Ypsilanti/Willow Run Branch. The four candidates for mayor of Ann Arbor have indicated they support it, as well as the six county commissioners who represent the AAATA communities.

Last week, the leaders of the U-M Health System and St. Joseph Mercy health systems  came out in favor of the proposal millage.

(To see a list of individuals and organizations backing the AAATA’s five-year improvement plan, check out morebuses.org.)

In addition, more than a hundred volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods and calling potential voters to encourage a “yes” vote, and lawn signs supporting the campaign are popping up throughout the community.

The Ecology Center has played a leading role in the coalition supporting the ballot proposal, reflecting the organization’s historic commitment to reducing pollution and supporting stronger communities.

“Expanding public transit is one of the most important things we can do to reduce carbon pollution since transportation is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Ecology Center director Michael Garfield. “The AAATA plan will reduce congestion, and make the region more bike- and pedestrian friendly, leading to better land-use and a healthier environment."

Despite the signs of growing support, campaign organizers know that there is plenty of work still to do mobilize supporters and get them to the polls on May 6.

“We expect the opponents of the millage will spend a lot of money in the last few days before the election to spread misinformation and confuse voters and the costs and benefits of the proposal,” Garfield said. “That’s why we’re asking our supporters to talk to their neighbors and get out to vote for the future of our community on May 6.”

EcoLink — April 2014
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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