Transit Millage Passes: 70.6% Say Yes

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority transit millage gets clear majority in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%), Ypsilanti (83.4%), Ypsilanti Township (61.6%)

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.

The May 6, 2014 tax proposal received clear majority support in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%); Ypsi City (83.4%); Ypsi Twp (61.6%)

The May 6, 2014 tax proposal received clear majority support overall (70.6%) in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%); the city of Ypsilanti (83.4%); and Ypsilanti Township (61.6%).

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 May 6, 2014 tax proposal received clear majority support overall (70.6%) in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%); Ypsi City (83.4%); Ypsi Twp (61.6%)

The May 6, 2014 tax proposal received clear majority support overall (70.6%) in all jurisdictions: Ann Arbor (71.4%); the city of Ypsilanti (83.4%); and Ypsilanti Township (61.6%).

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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  1. May 7, 2014 at 11:46 am | permalink

    I hope the new buses, unlike the ones we have now, will come equipped with shock absorbers.

  2. May 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm | permalink

    I believe that we will not be buying any more of the hybrids. So it should be a new model.

  3. By Joel Batterman
    May 8, 2014 at 8:54 am | permalink

    Thanks for the analysis! Any chance we could get a Chronicle map of the vote?

  4. May 8, 2014 at 11:46 am | permalink

    Re: [3] Yes, but I had shape files only for Ann Arbor, the center of the known universe: [link] I’m looking at getting a map for the entire 3-jurisdictional area. There’s tabs for overall, in-person (aka in-precinct), and absentee. The map revealed to me that I need to correct this article. There’s an additional precinct in Ann Arbor where the millage failed among absentee voters – on a tally of 3 No to 1 yes.

  5. By Fuzzbollah
    May 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm | permalink

    Just loving watching this political pendulum swing back and forth here in Ann Arbor. While we are all still waiting for the so-called ‘Better Transit Now’ people to give their post-mortem on their failure to get enough voters to oppose the Transit Millage, it seems to me like a good time to revisit what Councilman Eaton had to say just a couple days ago here in the Chronicle, while he was refusing to state his true opinion of the millage “I think this is an opportunity for elected officials to step back and listen to what the voters have to say about AAATA and this millage. What better way to learn what the voters think than to let them vote as they wish on a ballot issue like this?”

    But then he goes on to say: “With all of the high powered endorsements, we may not be able to get a clear picture of what voters really think. Looking at the endorsement list, it seems a lot like the list of library bond supporters. If the millage fails, will it be attributed to the list of supporters? If the millage prevails, can it be taken as a clear expression of support for the efficacy of the AAATA?”

    I thought this was a clever way of dodging the issue, and can understand it in the context of potentially losing the support of his ardent clique of cheerleaders if he had come out and said he supported the millage. Also, I think Sally Hart Peterson coming off the fence at the last minute and stating she was in support of the millage was curious, but understandable because she didn’t want to anger the supporters of ‘Better Transit Now’, many of whom are Jack Eaton’s supporters. Or maybe Sally could tell which way the political wind was blowing. I prefer real leadership, which I take to mean you take a principled stand, state it publicly and strongly, stick by it, and be prepared to defend it. Jack may be gun-shy about revealing his true political opinions and endorsements, since he has been burned by them before, once stating in 2010 “I without reservation support Pat Lesko,”, and we all know how that turned out…

    Back in November 2012, Jack Eaton had this to say about the Library Bond and Arts Millage: “I think the defeat of both the library bond and the arts millage should be taken as a forewarning on the local vision of an expanded transit system supported by many of the same people. Are these leaders capable of learning from their experience with the arts millage and library bond?”

    Apparently so, Jack, apparently so.