Leonard council passes resolution against RTA

Leonard’s village council made it crystal clear that it’s against the proposed regional mass transit tax.

On Monday night, council voted 4-0 to approve a resolution opposing the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan’s proposed 20-year, 1.2-mill property tax, expected to be on the Nov. 8 ballot. (Please see related story, “Twp. working on resolution opposing RTA tax,” for background information on the proposal).

“I think everybody was pretty much on the same page,” said village President Mike McDonald. “There was very little discussion.”

McDonald explained that after personally researching the RTA plan, he believes it’s “another one of those poorly-conceived ideas” designed “to make things better for people that need transportation,” but in the end, it won’t make a “significant difference” or be an improvement over existing public transportation systems.

He called the RTA proposal “a well-meaning, well-intentioned project,” but he believes “it doesn’t have enough precise goals to make it worth voting for,” which concerns him “given the failures that we’ve seen in the past” with regard to mass transit.

Leonard’s resolution notes how the proposed tax increase would be used to create a regional mass transit system “that does not connect (to) or benefit” the village.

“It only benefits a few select communities in Oakland County,” the resolution states.

It goes on to explain that Leonard’s opposition is also based on the fact the RTA was “created by the state Legislature without a vote of the people or (a) vote of the local governments impacted and/or involved.”

Leonard officials noted how the village is already served by the North Oakland Transportation Authority, which is supported by a 0.25-mill tax approved by residents last year.

“Because included communities cannot opt out (of the proposed RTA plan and millage) . . . the village may be taxed for two transportation authorities,” one of which “does not provide local service,” the resolution states.

Even if the RTA millage is approved and the regional transit system is built, the resolution states, “the majority of village residents’ mode of transportation will remain their individual cars” for which they already pay “individual costs . . . including taxes.”

Much of the language for Leonard’s resolution was borrowed from a resolution recently drafted by Addison Township.

“We plagiarized it,” McDonald said. “Obviously, we had to make it suitable for the village’s situation . . . but I think the point is made.”

The Addison Township Board is expected to vote on its anti-RTA resolution at its Monday, June 20 regular meeting.


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