Last week Michigan Capitol Confidential ran a commentary by me describing an unusual Kalamazoo Transit Authority bill just approved by the Michigan House. In the article I insinuated that the legislation suggested the prospect of a future Kalamazoo transit millage increase.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, assures the Mackinac Center that no Kalamazoo transit tax increase is contemplated or desired, certainly not by her, and to her knowledge not by the respective county and city transit officials. Instead, she explains that the purpose of her bill is to improve efficiency by facilitating the consolidation of two transit agencies.

Here is an email from Rep. O’Brien on the article and legislation:

Thank you for the recent article regarding the Transit bills that recently passed the house. I agree that these bills are unusual as they reference only Kalamazoo County. Originally, we sought a statewide solution that would allow various transit entities in a common geographic area to consolidate services. However, we found that Kalamazoo County's model for varied levels of services and its collaborative approach was unique. Thus, this bill only addresses Kalamazoo County.

The goals of Kalamazoo County are to provide transit services under one roof, to reduce current duplicate costs and to be a wise steward of tax dollars. This legislation does not give any greater taxing authority than currently exists nor is the intent to raise the current millage. This legislation is in the same spirit as Governor Snyder's mission of reducing expenses through consolidation of services.

Thank you for writing about this unique legislation.

State Representative Margaret O'Brien