AATA extends contract with consultant as work continues on countywide transit expansion
The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's governing board voted Tuesday to extend a contract with consultant Steer Davies Gleave as the agency continues to work toward a major expansion of transit services throughout Washtenaw County.
The AATA hired Steer Davies Gleave last year to help craft a countywide transit master plan. Now that the plan is complete, the AATA is extending its contract with the firm through December 2012 to assist with implementation — at a cost not to exceed $193,318.
AATA officials said an extension of the contract will allow for ongoing support to the countywide transit effort, with the firm undertaking the following tasks:
File photo | AnnArbor.com
- Providing support to an ad hoc countywide transit funding task force as it develops recommendations for funding various elements of the transit master plan.
- Developing "district recommendations" for services, taking into account the particular needs and desires of the various geographic sub-areas of Washtenaw County, including an analysis of the existing providers’ ability to provide the desired services.
- Undertaking the creation of "service development plans" for specific services as determined by AATA in consultation with the local communities participating in the countywide transit planning process.
- Undertaking the creation of a "fares and ticketing plan" with two components: a near-term component aimed at rationalizing the current AATA fare structure, and a longer-term component designed to create a countywide fare policy and structure. The long-term work would incorporate changes needed due to any new types of transit services added to the region.
- Undertaking other studies and planning activities as needed.
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is expected to be asked later this year to approve the formation of a new regional transit body known as an Act 196 authority — a multi-jurisdictional agency replacing the AATA, which was chartered in 1969 by the city.
Commissioners also will be asked to approve filing of articles of incorporation for the Act 196 authority, which AATA officials expect to happen in spring 2012.
After the articles of incorporation are filed, the 28 municipalities throughout the county that are being asked to join in as partners will have 30 days to decide to stay in or opt out of both the millage that would fund the Act 196 authority and the services it would provide.
A new board would be responsible for developing and approving bylaws and a services plan for the new authority — as well as a funding plan — before the county board takes action.
The AATA board voted today under a separate resolution to give Chairman Jesse Bernstein authority to appoint three members of the AATA board to the unincorporated Act 196 board. They're expected to represent the interests of the AATA and the citizens of Ann Arbor.
The AATA's plan for an active Act 196 authority includes carrying over seven AATA board members to represent Ann Arbor, with eight spots representing outlying areas of the county.
The AATA board also gave authorization today for CEO Michael Ford to use the resources of the agency, as budgeted by the AATA board, to provide ongoing support to any created unincorporated Act 196 board and to report the concerns, progress, and any accomplishments or opportunities associated with the creation of that entity to the AATA board.
Ford said discussions remain ongoing with local elected officials on establishing an organizational framework and funding base for expanded transportation services.
"We've got a general framework going on and we're digging deeper to work with the communities and just having conversations with them and the providers," Ford said, adding he suspects the unincorporated Act 196 board will be fully in place by this fall.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.