Comments on: 5-Year Transit Plan: Possible Tax Vote Soon it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Floyd John Floyd Fri, 24 Jan 2014 21:38:22 +0000 @22 The timing of elections changes who turns out, and how many voters turn out. When turn out is low, you can “win” a vote (especially on taxes), and still lose the public opinion “vote with your feet” election. When the people paying the taxes may not be the people using the service, a tax enacted by a minority (and a small minority, at that)is even more at risk of having unintended consequences.

The issue of Council election dynamics is a topic for a different thread.

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:21:42 +0000 Followup to [19] and [20].

Federal funding received for the BTC requires 1% spent on “enhancements” – which at that time included various items like better signage, better access for disability community, improved pedestrian or bicycle access, and public art. That’s why there will be public art at the BTC.

The more recent federal funding requirement introduced a new term for what formerly known as enhancements – called “associated transit improvements.” Public art is no longer on the list. Art can still be eligible under the new rules, if it’s integrated into the facility – like artist-designed floor or wall tiles. But procuring a sculpture for installation at a facility would not be eligible under the new rules.

From AAATA manager of community relations Mary Stasiak:

For many years, we have been required to spend at least 1% of our federal Section 5307 formula funding each year on “transit enhancements.” Public art at a transit facility has been an eligible transit enhancement. With MAP-21, the terminology was changed to “Associated Transit Improvements” but the 1% requirement remains. However, under MAP-21, public art is no longer specifically listed as an eligible category, but it is still eligible. More importantly for this discussion, the funds we are using for the public art project at the BTC were appropriated before MAP-21 under the previous authorizing legislation. As a result, AAATA is using these funds for a “transit enhancement” project which specifically includes public art.

FTA sheet on public art in transit projects: [link]

Excerpt from the most recent version, C90301F: [link]

By: Donna Estabrook Donna Estabrook Thu, 23 Jan 2014 23:01:58 +0000 @21 John
Why would moving municipal elections from April to November make it harder to elect Republicans to local office?

By: John Floyd John Floyd Wed, 22 Jan 2014 03:16:11 +0000 @18 Laurie

We used to hold municipal elections in April; they were moved to November in order to increase turn out. One of the results of that switch was that it became harder to elect Republicans to local office – to the point where there are no no (self-proclaimed) Republicans in local government. I think this Herb’s point: the timing of elections does affect their outcome.

On paper, your point about “People get what they deserve” if they don’t show up makes perfect sense. The problem is, to many people it seems like less emotional work to vote with their feet and move 10 feet over the tax line, as happened in Detroit, than to spend energy engaging in local politics. It can be easy for those who vote in most elections to be smug about those who don’t frequently vote in local elections, but when taxes are not widely supported, bad things eventually happen to your community.

We need to make it easier for people to vote in local elections. Perhaps internet voting is a part of the solution to inconvenient elections; in the meantime, it seems to me that Herb still has a point about the timing of elections, and its affect on the legitimacy of outcomes. People do vote with their feet.

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:18:09 +0000 Re: public art as a part of BTC construction

Jeff, the short answer is: It’s not a city public art project. BTC construction was funded with a substantial portion of federal funds, and I think the it’s the feds who are requiring some kind of public art as a part of it. I’ll work on getting you a longer answer.

By: Jeff Hayner Jeff Hayner Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:06:22 +0000 Is no one questioning the cost of the Public Art that is being solicited for the AAATA’s new building? How did that slip in there, as part of the capital project? I thought that 1% skim had been defeated by the voters?

By: Laurie Howland Laurie Howland Tue, 21 Jan 2014 15:39:27 +0000 People make time for all kinds of things in their lives based on perceived importance. If they do not feel minor elections are worth the trouble, then so be it, but to imply that having issues voted on in non-November elections renders voters powerless is nonsense.

By: Herb Herb Tue, 21 Jan 2014 02:43:52 +0000 People do not have time to vote in these minor elections. Also there is a perception that it does no good to vote against millages with the current system, they are just brought up again and again until they pass, then that result is final. Almost every election has at least one millage increase proposal but there is never a proposal to reduce a millage. Certainly there are voters who want the city, county, AAPS, AATA, ALD to have more money but there are others who would like them to have less. The current system does not provide a level playing field for those with the later view.

By: Donna Estabrook Donna Estabrook Mon, 20 Jan 2014 23:04:16 +0000 I don’t understand the objection to placing the AAATA millage request on the May ballot as opposed to a later ballot when there is likely to be a higher number of voters. Everyone can find out what is going to on the ballot. If citizens want to influence government via the ballot they have to vote. If they don’t vote they have forfeited their chance.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:01:29 +0000 To expand on (12), I referred to the 2011 survey (the first survey was conducted in 2009), which had identical numbers (40/59/1) to the first, but note that this was for the entire county and also referred to ALL transit services, including WAVE.

Within Ann Arbor alone, 66% of respondents said that someone in their family had used AATA.

Interestingly, the percentage of 18-34 year-olds using transit decreased from 56% to 45% over the two surveys. Interesting, because we keep hearing that the transit urgency is directed at Millennials, per Lou Glazer.