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Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Pittsfield Township could become largest municipality to opt out of countywide transit authority

By Amy Biolchini

Editor's note: This story was updated at 10:40 a.m. to indicate the result of Tuesday night votes on the issue for several townships.

Pittsfield Township could become the largest municipality to choose to opt out of the new Washtenaw Ride countywide transportation authority with a Board of Trustees vote planned for Wednesday night.

The township has a resolution to withdraw from the new transportation authority on its Wednesday meeting agenda, joining Chelsea in a vote this week.


An Ann Arbor Transportation Authority bus.

After the city of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township has the highest taxable value in the county.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority voted unanimously, 7-0, Oct. 2 to incorporate the new transportation authority after years of discussing extending its currently millage-funded system to the entire county.

The vote to incorporate included every municipality in the county in the new authority, which has the power to levy taxes to support its operations.

“We invited everyone,” said Mary Stasiak, spokeswoman for AATA. “The choice wasn’t to exclude everyone.”

The vote also initiated a 30-day period for municipalities to take action if they wanted to opt out.

To date, a number of townships have officially submitted their paperwork to the AATA expressing their will to opt out of the new Washtenaw Ride: Bridgewater, Freedom, Manchester, Lima, Lyndon, Dexter and Saline, Stasiak said.

Those townships comprise of about 32 percent of Washtenaw County’s population, Stasiak said.

“At this point, it is within the range of our expectations,” Stasiak said of the dwindling number of communities that are choosing to be a part of the Washtenaw Ride. “We expected a range of everybody to very few.”

York Township voted Oct. 9 to not be a part of the new authority, according to Supervisor Joe Zurawski, and Superior Township voted to opt-out Oct. 15. Webster Township voted unanimously to opt-out Oct. 16.

Additionally, Northfield, Salem, Sharon and Sylvan townships have already chosen not to participate in the countywide transit discussions.

However, a number of those townships are still pursuing contract-for-services agreements with the new transit authority.

The cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti which were two parties in a four-party agreement to help launch the new authority are still in the Washtenaw Ride and have not opted out. The city of Saline and Ypsilanti Township have both formally expressed their interest in being involved.

Scio Township and the village of Chelsea voted Tuesday night to abstain from participating.

Upcoming votes include the village of Dexter and the city of Milan.

Dexter recently postponed its vote to join the new authority until Scio and Pittsfield townships cast their votes in the process, Dexter Patch reported.

“Many of the communities that have chosen to withdraw have also expressed their interest in providing public transportation,” Stasiak said. “It’s not a matter of whether they agree or disagree of whether public transit is important.”

The 30-day period set by the AATA for communities to opt out expires Nov. 2, but because of a miscommunication, the AATA agreed to extend the window and add an additional 30 days after Nov. 2 for municipalities to take action.

By early December, the new governing board for the Washtenaw Ride will be set and will then be able to discuss funding options. Because certain communities have chosen to opt out, they won’t have a voice in that process, Stasiak said.

Those that do participate will be at the table and will learn of the different options that they can choose from for funding models, Stasiak said.

They also won't receive service or be subject to the tax, according to previous reports.

The AATA will be concentrating on the priorities of the communities that have chosen to participate in the Washtenaw Ride, and to find local funding solutions that are acceptable to them, Stasiak said.

“It will be up to them to decide how they would like to move forward,” she said.

The AATA has already included a possible 0.584-mill countywide transit tax in its proposals that would raise $7.7 million in the first year for the Washtenaw Ride with every community participating. The city of Ann Arbor would contribute an extra $2.6 million per year.

Pittsfield Township property owners would pay nearly $900,000 under the proposed tax and Scio Township property owners would pay nearly $700,000.

Property owners in Ypsilanti Township - which has voted to stay in the new transit authority - would pay more than $600,000.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Awwwwwww... gee! Nobody wanna play with little Johnny Hieftje and all his choochoos and trams?!? Who would've ever thunk? Will no one rid us of this meddlesome pol and all his shills in Hieftje Hall, the DDA, the AATA, etc.?! Seems to me we need some electoral Ex-Lax around here... or maybe a few wiseguys for a more permanent solution.

martini man

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Let the folks that actually use this AATA system foot the bills, rather than having others subsidize it. Pittsfield rock !!!


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Ireally fail to understand the reasoning.It seems to me all they will do in inconvenience the public.Good government in action.But what do i know.

Ypsi Eastsider

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 7:54 a.m.

Oh good grief, residents in the City of Ypsilanti could see their transportation millage double. We already have the highest property taxes in the County and we are about to lose most of our fire department. Most residents would rather see their tax money spent saving our fire department than some pie in the sky transportation system designed by million consultants from the UK.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

I need the bus to get to work. The only reason I live in Ypsilanti is access to public transportation. I think the fire dept is important too but so is public transportation.

David Cahill

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

Pittsfield Township has opted out. Requiescat in pacem.

David Cahill

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Perhaps could help answer: 1) Is there any possibility at ALL that Ann Arbor can opt out, or have all residents just been forced into this because the people in charge have already cast in our lot? 2) Is there ANY plan, ANY clear path for if less than 40%, or 30%, or whatever, of all participating communities opt out? If we have 3 out of 20 towns, villages, etc. that DO want to particpate, do we STILL keep this board and corporation that can levy taxes, etc.? In other words, is there some level of LACK of interest that finally shuts down this whole idea, or do we just go into the future with an incorporated tax-levying body regardless of how few people want it?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

1) Ann Arbor can vote to opt-out like every other municipality. There are rumors that the new city council may do exactly that after the election. 2) AATA's plan was largely designed for success; there are only vague provisions for so many municipalities opting-out.

Karen Lovejoy Roe

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

In Ypsilanti Township the ability to have Dial-A-Ride township wide for our seniors was a major reason our township board wanted to participate in the countywide transit system. Many of our residents do not have the ability to use the dial-a-ride system now but will with the new plan. The ability to help our seniors stay in their homes and be independent is very important to our board. This need will continue as all projections for Ypsilanti Township and the entire county show a large growth in our senior population. Our seniors have dedicated many dollars to help all of us over the years and whatever we can do to assist them as they age in place is at the top of our priority list. Many of our residents work at U of M and utilize the bus system because of the difficulty and expense of parking at the hospital and campus. Currently it is difficult for many of them to use the bus due to the lack of a park & ride where they can take an express bus to campus. The 5 year plan includes a new park & ride location by I-94 and Huron St. Currently there is a capacity issue with some of our routes especially in the AM . The new plan will offer more frequent service and longer hours which is needed for our residents to get to employment in Ann Arbor. Employment centers are located through out our county but many jobs are in Ann Arbor. It is imperative that our residents have the means to get to jobs. Economic development is at the top of the list for our township board also and it is clear that many new employers make decisions to locate their offices, businesses, and manufacturing facilities where their is adequate public transporation. We want to be considered for every new business that is looking to locate in Washtenaw County. The new plan will include a route to the Kroger's shopping center and the Ypsilanti District Library. Our entire township will benefit from an expanded transit system.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

I think it is clear, that regardless of what happens with this plan (and I hope that it will die a quiet death), we should accommodate the needs of the Ypsilanti community. This could happen with a special arrangement with the two Ypsilanti municipalities in which a combination of reasonable POSA contracts and contribution via tax measures from those communities would ensure that adequate service is available for these sister communities with Ann Arbor in our greater urban area. We cannot allow this part of our urban region to suffer inadequate service, since we all depend on one another. I hope that in near future I can publish a blog post that outlines the income disparities between the urban area and the rest of the county. Ann Arbor has the third lowest median income in the county. The two Ypsilanti communities are the first and second lowest. The urban area has the greatest need for effective mass transit, not only because of the population, but because of need.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

I hope this means that the buses won't be making any stops in Pittsfield Township since they obviously aren't interested in being a part of public transportation. This would really speed up my transit home. Probably not but one can hope.

Rick Stevens

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Please read the entries from Larry Baird and Vivienne Armentrout. I am in favor of public transportation but understand and appreciate Pittsfield's action. Ann Arbor tries constantly to ram things through Pittsfield without enough information or time to evaluate what is proposed. Communicating with the township always seems to be an afterthought: 'please just sign this and return it'. I guess we in Pittsfield should at least be somewhat grateful for 30 days notice - in the case of the airport runway expansion the Township found out about by reading it in the newspaper - after the period for public comment had closed!

Dave Koziol

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

Some coverage from Pittsfield Townships' Trustee's would seem to be a helpful addition to this article, or a future one. As a Pittsfield resident, I wrote to them and received a quick response. It would seem they are feeling rush by the 30 day window, and a lack of information.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Government operating at its usual breakneck pace and level of cooperation.

Larry Baird

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Counties like Pittsfield currently have contracts with AATA (purchase of service agreements - POSA's) that spell out what they are purchasing. Now they are being asked to replace those explicit contracts with a vague plan that can never be severed and with a price tag still to be determined. These county boards are the financial stewards of their communities and have the common sense to never enter into a "lifetime" contract with any entity when you a.) do not know the price tag and b.) do not know what you are getting in return for that price and c.) your own township's voting results could be overruled by the larger general vote

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

In support of the point: here are 3 "whereases" from the resolution. specifics regarding the cost of the Transportation Authority, service improvements and millage rates have not been provided to the Pittsfield Charter Township Board of Trustees ; and Pittsfield Charter Township will continue to receive public transit services from AATA or the Transit Authority on a contractual basis such as currently exists; and the current ambiguity of the costs and benefits to all the residents of Pittsfield Charter Township prevents the Board of Trustees from making a fully informed decision regarding participation in the Transit Authority by the deadline set by AATA;


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Well said.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I couldn't be more proud of my elected officials. I often wonder why common sense ends at the beginning of the city limits.

John S. Armbruster

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

The only people that want this loser for the most part are Ann Arbor politians and bureaucrats. AATA has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on the farce. For those in Ann Arbor I have very little sympathy. You elected and appointed these jokers. You view it as an attempt by out county voters to get a free ride. I hate to disillusion you but the intent of the farce is to fleece the rest of the county to benefit Ann Arbor.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

With all the outlying townships opting out, how will the 4-party transit authority governing board going to change? At this time the board is to be composed of 15 members of which Ann Arbor will only have 7 of them. Hopefully, the board size will be reduced and membership will reflect the proportion of revenue provided to the new transit authority. Ann Arbor, as the biggest cash contributor to the entity, should have a majority of board membership.

Kathy Griswold

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

The townships will not have an "opt-out" clause on the New Downtown Library Bond. Few people realize that the library district is the same as the 125-square mile Ann Arbor Public School District (except Northfield Township). It includes the City and parts of the townships of Salem, Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Scio, Lodi, Webster and Superior. Should township taxpayers have to support downtown economic revitalization and commercial partnerships?


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

SE Mich is set up for road transportation,which is not a new fact. That means people have cars. the anecdotes of people in favor are too small a voice. The officials probably know the auto volume in their areas,and destination areas,in general.Not everyone living "out" wants to come into Ann Arbor on a regular basis. When people make a choice of where they live, they are aware of driving factors.This far flung plan put forth, really won't change the majority of individuals behaviour in outlying areas to justify the cost.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

truck axle weights cause road infrastructure destruction-not autos. How much do you think the trucking industry pays in taxes to assist in this repair and maintenance? Detroit has experienced multiple issues-fires and riots in the race riots caused a great share of the flight out. The reasons that communities grow and prosper is more than about it's trains/buses......improving the quality of a community will lead to various strengths-transport dovetails onto other growths/strengths that occurr. Michigan is being weakened which is hardly a selling point for mass transit. I don't think it's narrow mindedness but rather a broader view that sees what is going on in totality and know this is not the correct plan:it is certainly the wrong time.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

I fear this is the narrow minded thinking that god Detroit into trouble when GM yanked all mass transit. You realize, any sustainable area needs mass transit to move people. Individual transportation is hardly sustainable, which is why our road crumble, urban sprawl causes tax issues, and why growth needs to be managed. If the area wants to continue to grow and keep a youth aspect of their population, then they need to have this kind of aspect. Otherwise, folks will leave Michigan as they are other areas and move to sunny destinations with more of these ammenities. Look at the job hotspots in the nation, SF, Chi, Boston, NYC, D.C., Austin, -- all of these have mass transit systems. They are larger - do agree, but you have to start somewhere. Maybe the folks in Michigan do want to shrink, and become a smaller state - I just hope they realize that is the trend. Ann Arbor has bucked that trend (25sq miles) but soon that surround will engulf if we assimilate to the rest of the rustbelt.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

This is a simple issue. Pittsfield will opt out because its voters don't want to subsidize the transportation costs of someone else. Taxes are not needed to support the AATA. If people want to use the bus then they should be willing to pay the full cost of busing. Why should I help pay for your bus ride? Are you going to help pay for my car?


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

For the same reason I pay for your schools and roads which I may not even use. It's called community.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Meanwhile, another accident clogs up inbound M-14 today. I don't claim to have the answer, but something needs to be done in terms of mass transit in the Ann Arbor area. The inbound highways increasingly move at a snails pace, even without accidents.

Pamela L.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

.58 mils is a lot of money to further tax Pittsfield residents. Keep the contracted service that the township has now, expand it a bit as needed, but don't force all township taxpayers to foot the bill for a county-wide service. If there is a vote, it is a county-wide vote and could pass even if Pittsfield residents vote it down. Excellent decision Pittsfield!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

I concur, John Q. Great point!

John Q

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Right, continue to allow Townships to be free riders on a system paid for largely by city taxpayers.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

I called the Chelsea City Clerk, Terri Royal. She said that their council voted to opt out last night.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

Meanwhile, another accident clogs up inbound M-14 today. I don't claim to have the answer, but something needs to be done in terms of mass transit in the Ann Arbor area. The surrounding highways increasingly move at a snails pace, even without accidents. The Washtenaw Ride reports that several of the express route buses are running extremely late due to the accident on M-14, thankfully only a hand full of people on those buses are temporarily stranded!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

@ Veracity: I agree that most southbound US23 traffic isn't local, if you're defining local as the immediate Ann Arbor area. My point is that the highways surrounding Ann Arbor are choked during rush hour, inbound in the mornings, outbound in the evenings. I don't claim to have an answer, but it sure seems like we can either start thinking about some form of mass transit or watch the congestion get far worse.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Northside - Most traffic down US23 is not local and therefore increasing intra-county bus service will not alter the traffic volume on our interstate highways locally. Accidents are caused by human error and not by volume, though having more cars around you while you are driving increases the likelihood that when you make a mistake an accident will happen.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Meanwhile, another accident clogs up inbound M-14 today. I don't claim to have the answer, but something needs to be done in terms of mass transit in the Ann Arbor area. The surrounding highways increasingly move at a snails pace, even without accidents.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Is this about a bad plan, or townships that really don't want to spend money on busses no matter what is presented? If there was a bus that stopped outside my subdivision that took me to the normal shopping areas I always drive to, the downtown area, library, what ever, I would definitely ride it.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

You and all 6 of the other people.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.



Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I can see the small townships opting out since they have gone this far without public transportation, but Dexter, Saline, Chelsea and Pittsfield Townships. Give me a break. They don't want the service but will gladly contract for special services. You can't have your cake and eat it too. It looks as if countywide services will consist of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. Then that is what was expected anyway. What a waste.

Larry Baird

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Counties like Pittsfield currently have contracts with AATA (purchase of service agreements - POSA's) that spell out what they are purchasing. Now they are being asked to replace those explicit contracts with a vague plan that can never be severed and with a price tag still to be determined. These county boards are the financial stewards of their communities and have the common sense to never enter into a "lifetime" contract with any entity when you a.) do not know the price tag and b.) do not know what you are getting in return for that price.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Saline township is very very small. Lodi is what I think you were thinking of.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Well, with all other out-county communities opting out, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline will exclusively provide the additional millage payments to the 4-Party Transit Authority (4-PTA). Obviously, the total revenue will be somewhat less than if all areas contributed to the millage. If the 4-PTA survives the loss of the out-county areas, then the shrinkage in participation will mean that more money can be provided to the Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Authority (WCIA) so that it can proceed with its "Re-Imaging Washtenaw" (RIW) plans. Remember the "Re-Imaging Washtenaw" plan? In summary, the RIW would accomplish three objectives. First, transportation along Washtenaw Avenue from the Stadium Avenue split on the west side to the EMU on the east side would be "improved" by establishing a light rail line or, more feasibly, by introducing super-buses that can carry twice the number of passengers as compared to present buses. Besides being excessively expensive to build, a light rail line would use at least one traffic lane which will impede traffic flow. Also a light rail line could not pass under the present US23 viaduct so an entirely new interchange would be required. Secondly, the "Re-Image Washtenaw" would beautify Washtenaw Avenue by planting trees and bushes and, conceivably, by installing expensive public art. Finally, "Re-Image Washtenaw" would facilitate development of properties adjacent to the road. Arbor Hills Crossing is a proposed development that is actually under construction. When completed it will offer 90,000 square feet of commercial space. However, no leases have been identified yet. Furthermore, the city and county will not gain financial benefits from Arbor Hills Crossing because taxes will be returned to developers as reimbursement for Brownfield remediation and site development.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

The City will gain financial benefits. You don't understand the system. Since I live within a block of Arbor Hills Crossing, I'm pleased that the tax increment funding will actually stay in the immediate area for a time and immediately benefit persons outside the downtown area! Sidewalk and intersection improvements are welcomed in that area. Remediation of the site is important to neighbors of the area though you seem to prefer the taxes go downtown instead.

Dog Guy

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Even if Pittsfield Twp. opts out of the new Washtenaw Ride countywide transportation authority, the AATA overlords will still put their own enormous photos on bus stops there. Perhaps these will be only bus watch points labelled "look at us ride", but Pittsfield will not be denied the ego advertising.

David Cahill

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

My guess is that the AATA will realize its countywide plan is dead, since the county doesn't want it. I expect we will never get to the point of having to vote on a millage.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

I would be surprised, Mr. Cahill, if some form of new or increased taxation does not come out of this. AATA's push for this has been as strong, vigorous, and suspect in terms of propriety as the mayor and council's push for the Fuller station. Lack of interest and justification do not seem to be factors taken into consideration; there's a LOT of money that can change hands and get funneled around, and fiscal responsibility do not seem to be driving factors in any of it.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

That would be the logical conclusion. Therefore, we can expect that they will press on regardless.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5 p.m.

The price people in surrounding areas will pay for continually rejecting any form of mass transit is the congestion we see on the highways that surround Ann Arbor. Few people seem to consider the lost time and increased gas costs of being stuck in traffic in comparison to mass transit expenses.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

I am sure that the effort to establish the 4-Party Transit Authority (4-PTA) will continue despite the setbacks with participation. A lot is at stake for various interested parties. For instance, proponents for the Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Authority (WCIA) need the new millage in order to have the 4-PTA provide financing for its "Re-Image Washtenaw" (RIW) plans. More about RIW can be found in my comment further down. Furthermore, I am sure that local officials are looking forward to new employment with enhanced salaries. For instance, I expect that Michael Ford, the present AATA CEO, will want to lead the new 4-PTA and with a larger salary. According to speculation elsewhere at, the mayor may be interested in the 4-PTA leadership position for similar reasons. If the 4-PTA is created despite defections, watch for this to happen.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

I hope your right.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

They are going to have to vote for the tax millage proposal and I will vote NO. We already have an Ann Arbor based transit system that is exceptional. We should not carry the burden to cover vast areas of Washtenaw county where the tax base is far lower and the costs to pick up these riders much greater.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

This low participation suggests this all needs to be re-thought, rather than "Pressing on regardless!!!!" As an example, sending buses to Saline, through the non-participating Pittsfield, is folly.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Well, it would make the service between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor faster if the buses don't have to stop in Pittsfield Township.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

That is what the pitts seem to want Hard to believe that there would not be a support base in the airport industrial area. Could go one step further and ban citizens of non-participating areas from riding system buses any where (art fair; ball games; park & ride;... ) screw 'em

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Why stop there? How about buses from Ypsi to Ann Arbor, should they eliminate all stops between US 23 and Golfside? Only pick up passengers on the north side of Ellsworth?

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

"The 30-day period set by the AATA for communities to opt out expires Nov. 2, but because of a miscommunication, the AATA agreed to extend the window and add an additional 30 days after Nov. 2 for municipalities to take action." What was this miscommunication that extended the window PAST THE ELECTION? In any case, it has not hampered the flow of bad transit news.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Good for Pittsfield! The voters have the right to agree or disagree without being judged as good or bad people for it. Pittsfield home owners pay their taxes while is suspect many others do not.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

No voters were given the option, only the trustees. Home ownership and even payment of property taxes are not a requirement to cast a ballot.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

This is sad news. I guess folks in Pittsfield like their sprawl, future congestion, and headaches. I really fear for what US12 will become in 10 years, and hope that folks are smart enough to not let this happen to their community:


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

So.....the "county wide" transportation authority will run pretty much where the AATA runs now? Anyway, with all that extra responsibility - being "county wide" and all, I sure hope the AATA movers and shakers get some nice raises this year and in the future. I'm from the goobernment. I'm here to help you.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

This is the kind of crazy selfish decisions we get from the McMansion set running the township. Of course they would never take the icky bus or shop at Walmart, but many residents do. We had money to spend on the Lohr-Textile asphalt path to the Saline rec center that only some township residents get to use. We spend money to put a police officer at the Saline HS. Those of us on the east side of Platt have a different reality, and we would like to have service beyond just police crackdowns. The township obviously doesn't want to be connected to its neighbors Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Twp, and even Saline. This would still have to come before voters for a millage to be approved, so why pull the plug now?

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Thank you Pamela, I use a nickname because no one would believe my real name is not an alias. Say hi to all your friends at the Harvest PTA.

Pamela L.

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Hickory Woods' very own Robert Jones strikes again!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Pittsfield voters will have no direct say in a millage vote, it is the entire authority. If all of Pittsfield votes "no" but AA votes "yes," you will be taxed. That's why you have to "pull the plug now."


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Those that do participate will be at the table and will learn of the different options that they can choose from for funding models, Stasiak said. Sounds like Nancy Pelosi when she said let's pass Obama care and then we'll see what's in it.

Top Cat

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Thankfully, Webster Township will be opting out as well.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Webster opted-out last week.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Kudos to Pittsfield Twp. I hope Superior Twp is next to opt out.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Thank you for the responses, I see the story has been updated since this morning with this information.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

No, actually Superior trustees voted to opt out on October 15.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

Superior opted-out last week; as did Ann Arbor township.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

According to Ms. Armentrout that happened last night.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

They'll be the largest municipality to opt out until Ann Arbor does it on Nov 6.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Jack, will we be able to opt out? That's what I've been wondering and asking for a long time. I've seen nothing to indicate that this entire folly will be canned, the new incorporated board disbanded, etc.; I see no language saying that if more than half, or 75% of potential members opt out, then the whole thing goes away. It seems to me like they can just keep everything, and just look for new millages to take up the slack and drive empty buses all over the county. What would it take to END this countywide transit project in its entirety?

Jack Eaton

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Ryan, I think Brad means that the composition of our City Council will change with the November 6 election and that may lead to majority support for a resolution for the City of Ann Arbor to opt out of the "county-wide" transit authority. Brad, those new members don't take office until November 19. Let's hope the new Council saves us from the increased millage and increased fares that would be needed to support the "county-wide" transit system, even within the very small opt-in area.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

There isn't anything on the Nov. 6 ballot related to this issue.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

"Those that do participate will be at the table and will learn of the different options that they can choose from for funding models, Stasiak said". So you have to choose ahead of time and then get the pertinent information afterwards? How about being transparent about this from the start so the local municipalities can make informed decisions? Who expects them to agree to something based on little or no information????

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

You ever heard of the vote on Obamacare?


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

The folly continues ...

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

Actually, Scio Township voted Tuesday night to opt out. Most units of government in Washtenaw County have either voted to opt out or are poised to do so. I have provided a map in my blog post The map is based on local media reports or calls to local officials. As you indicate, the vote in Pittsfield Township is tonight (Wednesday). The City of Milan will be voting on October 29. Based on the assumption that Pittsfield will indeed opt out, the taxes collected (including Ann Arbor's $2.5 million NEW tax) will fall short of the $33 million needed over 5 years to fullfill the Transit Master Plan. I have estimated (very roughly) that this could be reduced to $28 million if only the urban bus network enhancements are implemented. But by my back-of-the-envelope calculations, the tax collected by the remaining jurisdictions will only be about $18 million over 5 years. That means the millage rate will have to go up.

Kai Petainen

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

kudos to Vivienne for all the work she's done on this issue. it's folks like her, that give me hope for Ann Arbor... we need more heros like that, that can provide critical and much-needed perspective.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

OK, so now what happens to AATA and the major DEBT they have inured from the 2+ years of planning and consultants, WALLY and "THE CONNECTOR" that will undoubtedly end up similar to that of the "Simpsons Monorail" scheme.

Widow Wadman

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Thank you for the map and back-of-the envelope calculations, Ms. Armentrout. Both are helpful. I didn't think that there would be a lot of cooperation from surrounding townships as I didn't think that residents of those communities would want their taxes raised to help a small minority of residents. I thought maybe I was being cynical but I guess not.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Thanks for the analysis.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Wow, are they really going to send buses from Saline to Ann Arbor and Ypsi right through Pittsfield Township without any stops there? What a waste of gas.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Looks like the AATA and the King and his court at city hall are finding out that those with some say in their townships will not be railroaded!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

I'm a Pittsfield C/T "sub-division" resident. I can't see ever using this service. And with the low population density this looks like a lot of empty buses burning fuel and money. I'd have to vote "no".

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:20 a.m.

One could wish that in a world grounded in reality the AATA would take the hint. But I'm afraid that won't happen.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

The adults have spoken.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

And those would be the adults stuck in major congestion on 14 and 23, trying to get to their jobs in Ann Arbor, who continually reject any form of mass transit.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

sadly the children running the AATA don't seem to hear very well. With municipalities bailing like rats from a sinking ship they still think job security...errrr...... a county wide bus system on the tax payers dime is a good idea.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

They opt out of the county wide system and that hurts a lot of residents that live in their area. I am glad to see that Ypsi City and Ypsi Twp along with Ann Arbor stayed in the new system. I just hope the new system has a bus to go to the Kroger on Whitaker Rd. That would be great because then I for one(and i'm sure more than just myself) would definitely use that route because I like that Kroger better than the rest of them around me. There are other things in that complex with Kroger that would probably see a little spike in sales if they put a route out that way, and also give employees that work out in that area a chance to save money with the way gas prices are these days.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Good point, jcj. I have concerns about the accuracy of any estimates for services to this area and actually to all out county areas. I suppose each community could survey its population to determine the likelihood of usage and at what times of the day transportation service would be desired. Ultimately, an expanded transit service would need predicted usage information to set up routes and number of bus trips to areas each day. I have not seen such figures.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

I feel sorry for all 3 riders that will have to pay for their own transportation!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

Yes, there would be service to the Whittaker road corridor. See map on page 49 of the 5 year transit plan:


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

I would hope...

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

So in other words, after years of spending Ann Arbor supported AATA tax dollars on study after study after study, and coming up with a flawed plan to raise everyone's taxes across the County if a locality 'opted in', AND using bully negotiating tactics that didn't ask other government unit what they wanted during the process AND expecting Ann Arborites, who are paying two mills for less-than-perfect current service to add ANOTHER half mill of property tax into the mix, this project appears to be falling apart, with no one trusting AATA's word on any of this. Wow, who saw that coming?

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

I will defend the AATA as an organization of excellent staff who have delivered a good local transit system. I don't think this was an effort to insure job security or get more money. The current Board has been the driving force behind this initiative and in my opinion the chief motivation has been economic development. A regional transit system is seen as a necessity for making Ann Arbor into a thriving metropolitan center which is good for business. I don't happen to agree with their approaches or embrace their vision, but the staff do not deserve blame here.

Widow Wadman

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Maybe I'm being cynical but it seemed to me from the beginning that it was a few Ann Arborites behind this proposal to raise taxes throughout the Washtenaw County. It seemed quite arrogant to try and thrust a tax upon people who were not requesting services. I also wondered if this proposal was more about providing more income to AATA and hence job security to employees of the AATA rather than providing needed transportation services. I wish the AATA would concentrate on providing reliable service within Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti with a few runs per day to Dexter and Saline.