RTA Transit Tax Focuses on Old Technology, Ignores Opportunity

Mozena debates merits of plan on Michigan Matters

A ballot measure to increase Wayne County property taxes to fund regional transit is stuck in past, focusing on transportation technology of the 1800s.

During a debate on Sunday’s episode of Michigan Matters hosted by CBS’ Carol Cain, Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications John Mozena raised questions about the 20-year RTA transit tax plan that would rely on buses and trains.

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We need to stop and think about what a 20-year plan means. … At a time of the most amazing change technologically in how people transport themselves around probably since the time Henry Ford was driving around in his quadricycle, we’re locking ourselves into technology from the 1900s in busses and technology from the 1800s in trains rather than allowing the innovation that’s out there in transportation to flourish. Twenty years from now, we’re going to wonder why we ripped up a lane of road to put in a bus lane in rather than self-driving-car guiderails.

Mozena went on to say that the plan ignores real transportation issues for Detroiters, who face the highest average auto insurance rates in the country, and ignores the opportunity to create jobs near where people live.

This is a terribly pessimistic plan because it assumes that in 20 years, low-income Detroiters are still going to need to get on the bus in the morning, leave Detroit to go to the job, and then come home at night.

Watch the full episode of Michigan Matters here.

Learn more about the proposed tax increase and RTA plan here.

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