Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township gave a new 0.7 mill transit tax a clear majority in the May 6, 2014 vote.
Overall, the proposal from the AAATA received 70.6% votes in favor. That percentage reflects 13,949 votes in favor and 5,783 against.
The new tax, which can be levied for five years before it again needs approval by voters, is supposed to fund a five-year service improvement plan.
The tax received clear majority support in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%); the city of Ypsilanti (83.4%); and Ypsilanti Township (61.6%).
Across all jurisdictions, the turnout was 12.7% of registered voters. Turnout was helped by sunny weather with high temperatures in the low 60s. By jurisdiction, turnout varied a bit: Ann Arbor (14%); Ypsilanti (12.6%); and Ypsilanti Township (9.5%).
Including all cash reported under late-filing rules, the Partners for Transit millage campaign raised $54,427 in cash. The anti-millage campaign committee, which called itself Better Transit Now, accumulated $17,817 in resources, when $15,037 of in-kind contributions – in ad purchases – by McCullagh Creative are included.
The clear majority achieved by the millage contrasts with a great deal of uncertainty among Ann Arbor elected officials about its prospects. Some council sources indicated they expected it to fail or else to just squeak by.
Along nearly any cut of the poll results, the transit tax gained a clear majority among voters. In Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the proposal passed in all precincts. In Ypsilanti Township, 12 out of 14 precincts gave it majority support. In the two precincts where the proposal failed, it fell short by a total of just 14 votes with a combined tally of 173 in favor and 187 against.
Among absentee voters, the millage support was not as strong as among in-person voters, but it still achieved a clear majority. Ypsilanti did not tally absentee voters separately. But across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Township combined, the in-person majority was 72.2% compared to 60.1% for absentee voters. In Ann Arbor, the in-person majority was 73.2% compared to 62.25% for absentee voters. The millage failed to achieve a majority among absentee voters in just
one precinct two precincts in Ann Arbor (Ward 2, Precinct 9 and Ward 1, Precinct 3) – where the tallies were 43 in favor to 45 against and 1 in favor and 3 against, respectively. In Ypsilanti Township, the in-person majority was 65.8% compared to 57.4% in absentee.
The first element of the five-year service plan will be implemented in August 2014: extension of the end time for weekday fixed-route service on most of AAATA’s routes. Most routes would be extended from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The second element of the plan is later evening service on weekends. Service currently ends between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on most routes on Saturday, so starting in August 2014, Saturday service would be extended about an hour on all routes in the first year. And then in August 2015, service would be extended essentially on all routes to between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays.
Also included in the five-year service plan will be: greater frequency on some routes, additional routes, as well as new route configurations for some areas. Some of the improvements will need to wait 18 months, because the new buses they require will take up to 18 months to be delivered after they are ordered.
The board of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority had voted at its Jan. 16, 2014 meeting to adopt the five-year service plan the millage. The following month, at its Feb. 20, 2014 meeting, the board voted to place the measure on the May 6 ballot.
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