Comments on: Column: More Taxes for Transit? Yes, Please it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Tue, 06 May 2014 12:04:22 +0000 @30: My guess is that they’ll go with the “A2″ branding at some point, with “A2ATA”. In any case, I think the easiest pronunciation is like “atta”, as in “atta boy!”

By: Jose Galofre Jose Galofre Tue, 06 May 2014 02:51:37 +0000 As a former resident of Miami-Dade county, I say that AAATA bus routes are “backward”s compared to the bus routes in Miami-Dade county. (For the sake of bus route comparison, here’s the link: then click on bus icon at that website for bus routes.)

Are you happy with the current bus routes? Are you satisfied with the current bus routes? Let’s AAATA forward…NOT BACKWARDS!! Let’s vote YES for the bus route expansion!

Looking ahead to a new name for AAATA…WCTA (Washtenaw County Transit Agency)!

By: David Cahill David Cahill Mon, 05 May 2014 23:23:40 +0000 According to campaign finance reports, on Friday the “yes” campaign received a $10,000.00 contribution from DTE Energy!

By: Jeff Hayner Jeff Hayner Mon, 05 May 2014 21:53:19 +0000 I am paying for the roads, with 2.125 mills city tax, and a state gas tax, and I am paying for the buses with 2.06 mills city tax, which might be increased to 2.76 mills; and each time someone rides the bus at an AAATA stated average fare of $0.90 I am paying my portion of the difference between the actual cost of that fare and what the user pays – my portion of $2.66/ride – at 6.6 million rides per year – to use your numbers Dave, which are not reflected in the National Transit Database – and somehow this is not enough to absolve myself of the “moral crime” of driving a small-body work truck instead of taking the bus? Give me a break.

The largest population of bus users are those who can, indeed, afford the small fare increase that would be more than enough to cover the free rides given to those who have no other choice. A small fare increase, combined with more efficient operation would also pay for the minor expansions of the system asked for. Downtown commuters, and University employees – are these the people who have no other choice? No, they ride because it’s a good deal, since their commute is subsidized by the rest of us.

And what of the other communities who need economic development opportunity and transit operating funds more than Ann Arbor? What about cities like Flint, Detroit, and Saginaw? Is it not selfish of our transit users and transit authority to demand MORE! – to raise and spend as much money as possible -adding on to an already decent system -even though this takes State and Federal matching funds away from other more needy communities? How is this not selfish? More Buses! More Places! More Tax Dollars! Give us More! Sounds pretty selfish to me.

By: Peter Zetlin Peter Zetlin Mon, 05 May 2014 20:56:32 +0000 With a massive multi year expansion/marketing campaign and a low turnout special election, plus a lack of balanced opinions from politicians who have spoken about the millage, it will be difficult to characterize the vote as representing the informed opinion of a significant number of AA residents.

So far, no public official who has any doubt about the millage has been willing to say anything. AAATA and its companions in millage promotion have emphasized that if you’re not for the millage, you’re not a worthwhile person.

If, after all this pumping, the millage doesn’t pass, it’s going to be a slap in the face for the subsided growth coalition.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Mon, 05 May 2014 20:29:58 +0000 I have promised to stay neutral on the transit millage. I can see the reasons why opponents are against this millage and the reasons proponents are for the millage.

The AAATA is a Public Act 55 transit authority. PA 55 requires transit authorities to seek renewal of their millage at least every 5 years. By doing so, the transit authority must ask voters: “How are we doing?”

The AATA (and now AAATA) has historically received its funding through our City Charter transit millage, which does not require renewal. Thus, AATA has never had to face a millage renewal or ask about what voters think of their performance.

I think this is an opportunity for elected officials to step back and listen to what the voters have to say about AAATA and this millage. What better way to learn what the voters think than to let them vote as they wish on a ballot issue like this?

With all of the high powered endorsements, we may not be able to get a clear picture of what voters really think. Looking at the endorsement list, it seems a lot like the list of library bond supporters. If the millage fails, will it be attributed to the list of supporters? If the millage prevails, can it be taken as a clear expression of support for the efficacy of the AAATA?

I was disappointed to receive a mailing from the millage proponents that characterized the opposition as Tea Party members. I thought we learned last year that name calling of that kind is wholly ineffective. Why can’t we have civil discussion of issues?

By: Luis Vazquez Luis Vazquez Mon, 05 May 2014 19:57:32 +0000 Thanks Joel and Mary, I am aware of the mayoral candidates’ positions from having read all of the local news items on the Transit Millage and mayoral race. In particular, I would like to know the position of my First Ward CM Sumi Kailasapathy and her opponent Don Adams Jr., but I think it would be useful for all of Ann Arbor’s voters to know what their current CM’s and potential future CM’s positions are on an issue of such importance to the entire community. Council approves AAATA Board members after mayoral appointments, so it is important to know where they stand on this millage.

The only other indication I have seen recently is 5th Ward candidate Leon Bryson’s opinion piece in the Ann Arbor News, in which he asks for more open, civil dialogue, but does not express his own opinion regarding support of or opposition to the millage itself.

By: Mary Morgan Mary Morgan Mon, 05 May 2014 19:12:40 +0000 Re. Sally Petersen’s “I am a little bit still on the fence….”

Two days later, at a May 1 mayoral candidate forum hosted by the Main Street Area Association, Petersen came out in support of the millage: “I am happy to say that I am supporting the millage on May 6 and will vote yes. We need better public transportation to alleviate parking issues downtown.”

By: Joel Batterman Joel Batterman Mon, 05 May 2014 18:11:53 +0000 Luis: I don’t know where the Council candidates stand, but I culled these statements from the Chronicle transcript of the recent mayoral candidate forum, available at this link: [link]

Kunselman: “As mayor, we need to support local transit…Commuter rail to Detroit when the City of Detroit went from 2 million people down to less than 700,000 or so – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to a broader range of people. ”

Petersen: “I am saying I am leaning towards supporting [the local transit millage] right now, but I am a little bit still on the fence…I live in a ward where there is quite a bit of opposition to the transit millage…[on pedestrian safety ordinance] We need to look at other solutions other than requiring cars to stop for pedestrians waiting on the crosswalk.”

Taylor: “I believe that more buses more often is a good and I am a hearty supporter of the upcoming millage…I think also the mayor has a role in supporting and moving forward the conversation about expanded rail services to the city…Folks from the west, from the north, coming into town, not driving, coming into employment centers, this is great for us all.”

Briere: “Public transit is not a local issue. Public transit is a regional issue. It’s about people coming to Ann Arbor, people leaving Ann Arbor. It’s about the relationships between the various communities in southeast Michigan. It is the mayor’s obligation to see the big picture…And then, if you can’t support transit, then there is something really seriously wrong.”

By: Libby Hunter Libby Hunter Mon, 05 May 2014 15:44:05 +0000 Usually, when someone asks for more money, they have to show that they’ve been responsible with the money they already have but this shows the opposite.

(and for comparisons, the second link is Madison, WI (notice how Madison’s cost per mile is falling yearly, whereas AAATA keeps rising)