Voters in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area may decide to increase the transportation tax in August

ANN ARBOR, MI — Voters in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area could be asked this year to approve a tax increase to fund another expansion of local transit services.

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority’s board of directors, also known as TheRide, is due to discuss a five-year mileage proposal at its Thursday, March 17 meeting, while also allowing public comment. .

The council is expected to make a final decision on the question to ask voters at its April 21 meeting.

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CEO Matt Carpenter, who pitched the proposal, suggests putting it on the August ballot, asking voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township to raise a public transit tax from 0.7 million they pay to 2.38 million, an increase of 1.68 million.

Voters in the three jurisdictions first approved the $0.7 million tax to expand local transit services in 2014 before renewing it in 2019. It came on top of a $2 million tax that Ann Arbor was already paying and at a tax of 1 million that Ypsilanti was already paying for TheRide services.

The tax increase now proposed, if approved, would be levied from 2024 to 2028 and cost property owners an additional $168 per year for every $100,000 of assessed value.

“Greater local investment in transit amplifies outside funding,” Carpenter’s proposal states. “For every dollar of local tax investment, TheRide collects an additional $1.40 in federal and state grants for transit options. All of these funds are directly invested in our communities and residents.

While TheRide has struggled with low bus ridership during the pandemic, Carpenter said he’s confident public transit will rebound and be an important part of the region’s future. Expanding public transit is a key part of Ann Arbor’s A2Zero carbon neutral plan, which aims to get people to drive far fewer cars by 2030, reducing miles traveled in the city by 50% .

See the drop in bus ridership route by route for the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area

“The proposed investments will allow us to maintain and improve existing services, increase equity and expand access to opportunity across our community,” Carpenter said in a statement, also presenting it as a way to reduce the carbon footprint.

Ann Arbor is separately asking city voters to accept a 20-year, $1 million climate action tax in November to fund A2Zero efforts.

As indicated in a memo of eight pagesthe five-year public transit tax proposal includes the following key elements:

  • Maintain all existing services.
  • Expand evening, late night, weekend, and holiday services system-wide.
  • Introduce express service between downtown Ann Arbor and downtown Ypsilanti.
  • Increase social equity by equalizing services in all member communities.
  • Increase access to jobs, housing, medical care, education and other destinations.
  • To offer a mobility alternative to everyone, including the elderly, people with disabilities or low incomes, workers and employers, students and those who aspire to a car-free lifestyle.
  • Increase TheRide’s ability to deliver major projects in the future.
  • Maximize the use of federal, state and local funding.
  • Provide new services called for in public documents such as the Ann Arbor A2Zero Plan, Washtenaw County Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study Plan 2045 , the Ypsilanti Township Master Plan, the Ypsilanti Climate Action Plan and the Regional Transit Authority Regional Plan. Public transit plan.

See more details.

The mileage proposal comes as TheRide seeks public input on a draft 2045 long-term transit plan.

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