AATA OKs Amended Transit Agreement

The four-party agreement outlining a framework for a possible countywide transportation authority, and its articles of incorporation, has now been approved in its final form by all four parties to the agreement. The final approval came from the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority at its Aug. 16, 2012 meeting. The other three parties to the agreement are the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw County.

The most recent iteration of approvals came as a result of an amendment to the articles of incorporation made by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners at its Aug. 1, 2012 meeting. The county board’s amendment changed the minimum threshold of votes required on the proposed new 15-member transit authority board, if the board decides to change the authority’s articles of incorporation. That threshold was increased from a 2/3 majority (10 votes) to a 4/5 majority (12 votes).

Washtenaw County’s role would now be to file the articles of incorporation for a new transit authority – The Washtenaw Ride. The articles would be filed with the state of Michigan under Act 196 of 1986. But that filing would come only after a request from the AATA and only after the AATA publishes details of the service and funding plan for the authority in newspapers of general circulation in Washtenaw County. At that point, jurisdictions throughout Washtenaw County would have the ability to opt out of the new transit authority.

Even after the funding plan is published and the new authority is incorporated, the four-party agreement stipulates that any transfer of assets from the AATA to The Washtenaw Ride would take place only after a voter-approved funding mechanism is established. And only after a voter-approved funding mechanism is established would proceeds from the transportation millages currently levied by the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti be pledged to The Washtenaw Ride. A financial task force recruited by the AATA – to assess the amount of funding that would be necessary to offer the kind of service that AATA is proposing – concluded that it would require roughly the equivalent of 0.5 mills countywide. [.pdf of final version of transit documents]

This brief was filed from the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library at 343 S. Fifth, where the AATA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]