Ann Arbor Council Re-OKs Transit Docs

At its June 4, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council reconsidered and ratified an agreement among four parties on a framework for possible transition of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to a broader geographic service area, governance, and funding base.

The four parties to the agreement are the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.  In conjunction with the reconsideration of the four-party agreement, the council also approved articles of incorporation for the new Act 196 transit authority that would eventually need to be filed by Washtenaw County – on request from the AATA – in order to establish a new governance structure. According to the four-party agreement, even if a new governance structure is established under Act 196 of 1986, the transition of assets from AATA to the new authority, tentatively named The Washtenaw Ride, would not take place until a voter-approved funding mechanism is established.

The council had previously approved the four-party agreement on March 5, 2012, with implied approval of the attached appendix that included the articles of incorporation. The need for the Ann Arbor city council to reconsider the documents arose after the Ypsilanti city council amended those documents before approving them on May 15. On a unanimous vote, the Ann Arbor city council accepted only those amendments made by the Ypsilanti city council that affected the city of Ypsilanti. However, the vote on the four-party agreement itself was 8-3, with dissent from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) , Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

The Ypsilanti amendment to the four-party agreement related 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 for both cities. It amounted to around $3,000 that the city of Ypsilanti would forgo, but $90,000 for Ann Arbor. As amended by the Ann Arbor city council on June 4, the four-party agreement would allow Ann Arbor to retain the roughly $90,000 corresponding to the 1% municipal service charge.

The four-party agreement now must be re-approved by the Ypsilanti city council and the AATA board, which had previously approved the agreement, but without the Ann Arbor city council’s June 4 amendment.

For the most recent general Chronicle coverage of transit issues, see: “AATA Board OKs Key Countywide Documents.”

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]