You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 10:12 a.m.

Lawmakers inviting Washtenaw County residents to town hall meeting to talk transportation

By Ryan J. Stanton

Four state lawmakers from Washtenaw County are teaming up to host a bipartisan town hall meeting Monday night on the topic of transportation and infrastructure.

The event starts at 6 p.m. inside the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Drive.

Reps. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, and Rick Olson, R-York Township, are co-hosting the event.

Joining them will be representatives from the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

According to Rutledge's office, the forum will give residents an opportunity to ask local transportation experts questions regarding funding for roads and how the state is addressing the need for revenue to improve Michigan's aging infrastructure.


Rick Olson

Big talks are happening around transportation at the state level and several pieces of legislation are pending, including legislation that would create a regional transit authority for Southeast Michigan. Other bills call for increases in the state's gas tax and vehicle registration fees in an effort to raise $1.4 billion needed to properly maintain the state's roads and bridges.

Olson told last week he hopes the Legislature takes action by this summer on the two major funding bills or else the state will pay more in the long run as roads and bridges further deteriorate and cross over from fair to poor condition.

Olson, author of a bipartisan House workgroup report on Michigan's road crisis, said another 2 percent of the state's freeways have fallen into poor condition since his group's report was released in September, and that means they need more costly structural improvements now.

"I do like the tone of the discussions and I'm hopeful we can get somewhere," Olson said of talks happening in Lansing this past month.

In addition to Monday night's town hall, Irwin announced he will hold his next coffee hour from 9-10 a.m. this Saturday at Espresso Royale, 214 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor.

State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, also will hold her next coffee hour at the same Espresso Royale from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I believe the roads and bridges need fixes, but I don't want a mass transit system bigger then we already have. The city counsel are worried about building new apartment because of new crime, and what do they think will happen if there is an express route from Detroit? I hope they don't think it's a good idea to give mass transit to a city well know for their crime rate, strait to Ann Arbor, where there is a new bunch of well groomed and naive students, and a lot of well to do folks. This is leading the wolves to the sheep. Don't like it, and don't want it. Thanks.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Higher taxes on cigarettes. Higher taxes on gas? No wonder people are leaving the state. Only the wealthy can afford these taxes. Sucks but I want better bus transportation and less tax on gas. I am not ready for $5 this summer.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

What do you need a town hall meeting for? The roads are crumbling, period. Just bite the bullet, raise the gas tax and move on.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

I like partisan politics, skip the Bipartisan stuff. It only means that the Republicans are caving to the Democrats!