AATA Approves Countywide Transit Docs

At its May 16, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board approved two key documents related to a possible transition to a countywide transit authority – a four-party agreement and the articles of incorporation of the new authority.

The board’s resolution did not try to resolve differences between the versions of the four-party agreement that have now been approved by the city councils of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Instead, the board gave the four-party agreement its approval, contingent on resolution of the technical difference that has emerged between the Ypsilanti version and the Ann Arbor version – a difference that concerns a municipal service charge. The AATA board may need to vote again on the agreement, depending on how Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti change the document.

The four parties to the four-party agreement are the AATA, the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County. One key element of the four-party agreement is that the two cities would pledge their existing transit millages to the new countywide authority, instead of to the AATA. The Ann Arbor city council approved a version of the four-party agreement on March 5, 2012, after amending the version that the AATA had first presented. Amendments were made in several ways, and stretched over multiple meetings.

On May 15, 21012, the Ypsilanti council approved the four-party agreement, but amended it in a way that may require reconsideration by the Ann Arbor city council – in the opinion of Ypsilanti city attorney John M. Barr. [.pdf of red-lined four-party agreement as amended by Ypsilanti city council] The Ypsilanti amendment relates to a 1% municipal service charge that the agreement originally allowed the two cities to impose on their millages, before forwarding the millage money to the new transit authority. The Ypsilanti council struck the municipal service charge from the agreement. But at its Feb. 6, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council had already contemplated – and rejected, on an 8-3 vote against it – an amendment of the language related to the municipal service charge.

Also approved at the AATA board’s May 16 meeting were the articles of incorporation of the new transit authority. The evening before, the Ypsilanti council unanimously approved, without amendment, the proposed articles of incorporation. The Ann Arbor city council has not yet voted on the articles of incorporation. [.pdf of articles of incorporation]

The Washtenaw County board of commissioners will consider the four-party agreement and the articles of incorporation in the near future. County commissioners have already been briefed more than once on AATA’s countywide initiative, but have not yet formally considered the proposal.

This brief was filed from the Holiday Inn Express, 600 Briarwood Circle, where the AATA board held its monthly board meeting, which it combined with a retreat. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]