A recent letter regarding RTA

The Honorable Morris W. Hood III

Dear Senator Hood,

On behalf of the North End Woodward Community Coalition and Greater Woodward CDC, I want to thank you for standing up for the interests of the people of Detroit through your position on the Senate Transportation Committee, specifically with respect to the establishment of the Regional Transit Authority and Senate Bill 909. We know you have received a tremendous amount of pushback for your decision to abstain from voting on SB 909 but we want you to know that we appreciate your refusal to be bullied into a rushed vote with terms that are not beneficial to the most vulnerable Detroiters.

We in the North End are not opposed to regional transportation, however, we believe that the terms currently expressed in SB 909 are unacceptable and not in the interests of transit-dependent Detroiters.

Any successful regional transportation system must be built around a robust and reliable intra-city system of cross-town bus routes to connect those who are most transit dependent to the new rapid transportation routes the RTA would be in charge of developing along the main arteries.

The current language of Senate Bill 909 does not support DDOT or support the notion that effective local transportation must first be established if regional transportation is to be functional and equitable. If the other members of the proposed RTA were interested in protecting transportation for Detroiters, they would not insist on having voting rights that are disproportionate to their regions’ ridership and financial investments; they would not empower the RTA to issue unfunded directives to DDOT that could result in the withholding of state funding for local transit if not followed. Instead, they would explicitly recognize that transportation justice—safe, equitable, accessible, reliable public transportation operated by a transparent and responsive agency—is a civil and human right, and commit the RTA to ensuring that all citizens enjoy this right.

Something is not better than nothing, if it is going to continue the cycle of disenfranchisement of the most vulnerable, underrepresented members of our fine city. Thank you for taking a firm stance and continuing to ensure that any transportation plans or authorities that come before you take into account the needs of transit-dependent riders in Detroit.