Transit Advisory Group Postpones Meeting

The final meeting of a financial advisory committee to the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 27, has been postoned. The group was tapped by the AATA to review and make recommendations on funding options for service and governance of a transit authority that would operate throughout Washtenaw County. The group is expected to submit a white paper containing its recommendations.

The advisory committee, made up of more than 20 representatives of the public and private sectors, is led by McKinley Inc. CEO Albert Berriz and retired Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel They have met since the fall of 2011.

The expected recommendations of the financial advisory committee come in the context of a proposed  four-party agreement – between the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County – which, would establish a framework for making a transition of the AATA to a countywide system of governance under Michigan’s Act 196 of 1986. The Ann Arbor city council postponed a vote on the agreement a second time at its Jan. 23 meeting, due to an interest on the part of some councilmembers in hearing the financial advisory group’s recommendation before council’s next meeting, on Feb. 6.

However, it’s not clear when the financial group will reschedule its meeting. An emailed message from AATA director of community relations Mary Stasiak cited “concerns about having enough time to digest the large volume of information that was provided. The issue of transit funding is too important to make decisions without the benefit of a careful review of the sub-group’s work. We will be rescheduling this meeting and provide you with a new date as soon as it is available.”

Part of the large volume of information is a 17-bill package of legislation introduced the previous day (Jan. 26) that provides for the establishment and funding of a regional transit authority that would include Washtenaw, Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.