Thursday, February 27, 2014

More Buses vs. Better Transit Now: Part Deux

Mark Maynard has a pretty good interview on his blog with two folks from the More Buses campaign: Alexis Blizman and Martha Valadez and Richard "Murph" Murphy from Keep Ypsi Rollin’. To be up front about biases, these folks are all pro-millage. Still, they do a good job of explaining many of the issues surrounding the millage.
If you're wondering what this whole transit millage is about, basically the AAATA is asking for 0.7 mills for 5 years to fund it's 5-year transit improvement plan. The 0.7 mil property tax would cost homeowners $70 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value ($200,000 market value). This money would be used to increase the frequency of some routes (including a late night #4 on Saturday) and develop new routes.
The anti-millage folks, Better Transit Now, don't quite have a website up yet. Nevertheless, I will take this opportunity put words in their mouth. My interpretation is that they oppose the millage because they believe:
1) Ann Arbor has been subsidizing the other municipalities that AAATA services.
2) The feel like the AAATA has wasted money on rail studies, etc. while ignoring its core transit mission
3) They say that after 40 years of funding the AAATA, its services in Ann Arbor are not up to the investment the community has made.
Again, this is just my attempt to summerize some arguments I have seen on the interwebs and likely do not reflect the views or all or even the majority of those who oppose the AAATA Millage.

UPDATE: In an effort to get this post up quickly, I sort of trailed off at the end without wrapping the post up nicely. Also, reading what I wrote about the anti-millage folks now, it looks snarkier/meaner than I wanted it to be. I have changed the end of the last paragraph a little bit. My intent was to paraphrase and distill some arguments I had seen posted as comments on the .News and because I wanted to present the opposing side of the debate as neutrally as I could, but that is not what I accomplished. I am interested in hosting a robust discussion about the May 6th Millage on DA. To that end, I am going to reach out to both the folks at More Buses and Better Transit Now and see if they would be willing to write a 500-1000 word "Letter to Damn Arbor" explaining their positions on the millage vote. In the mean time, you can read more about the AAATA Millage on the Chronicle and Local in Ann Arbor.

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