Addison Township officials took a stand against the proposed regional mass transit tax at their June 20 meeting.
The township passed a resolution 7-0 to oppose a mass transit tax recently proposed by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan.
The RTA is proposing a 20-year, 1.2-mill property tax, which is expected to be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The proposed RTA tax would be used to develop and operate a regional mass transit system linking parts of Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
The mass transit tax, if approved by voters, would be levied against north Oakland County property owners, but not provide any services to this area.
If approved, it’s expected to generate $2.9 billion in tax revenue over two decades.
One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. A home with a taxable value of $100,000 could expect to pay an additional $120 annually under this tax.
Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson expressed concern, noting the RTA Master Plan would not benefit Addison Township residents.
“The closest (the rail) is gonna get (to Addison Township) is M-59. It’s not coming up to us,” he said. “We have our own very good North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) that meets our personal needs for our seniors and our people with disabilities here.”
Township Clerk Pauline Bennett added, “I’m not against the mass transit system, but I am against us paying for something that we’re not going to use or benefit from for the next 20 years. If they want to build it, the communities that are going to benefit from it should be paying for it, not us. We already have one (transportation service)… We’re going to end up paying for two and we really can’t afford to pay for two.”
According to the resolution, the township currently budgets an estimated annual total of $98,270 to fund NOTA, a public transportation system for vehicle-dependent/disabled/elderly residents living in Addison, Orion and Oxford townships along with their respective villages.
“If a senior or disabled person calls and needs a ride someplace, (NOTA) will come to their house and pick (them) up. (With the regional transit system,) nobody’s going to come to your house and pick you up. NOTA does offer that service and that’s irreplaceable,” said township Treasurer Lori Fisher.
The resolution encourages the use of current transportation services such as the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) and Detroit Department of Transportation (D-Dot) buses, rather than the services proposed by the RTA.
“Our job is to look after our township and our residents,” Pearson said. “I’d certainly like to help out Detroit and everybody else, but our first priority, I think, is to make sure that our tax dollars stay in our community.”