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Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Ypsilanti mayor optimistic about new Ann Arbor-Ypsi transit authority — or 'A3TA'

By Ryan J. Stanton

It's official: Ypsilanti is joining Ann Arbor as a member of the new Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority — or as some are calling it, the "A3TA."

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is poised to morph into a multi-jurisdictional entity with a new name after the AATA's board on Thursday approved adding Ypsilanti as a member.


An Ann Arbor Transportation Authority bus rolls down Fifth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor on Friday morning.

Ryan J. Stanton |

That expands the existing authority's footprint, increases the board from seven to nine members (Ypsilanti will get one representative), and it means voters in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti might be looking at a new transit tax on the ballot this November to expand local transit services.

"I think it's a great step forward — not only for Ypsilanti, but really for the whole county," said Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber.

"Having a voice at the table for the eastern side of the county is really good for the AATA, and this is a good building block for improving transit in the future," he added. "I think Ypsilanti needs the AATA and the AATA needs Ypsilanti … so it's a great regional step for everybody."

Schreiber said he's hoping people will start referring to the new authority as "A3TA." It's likely the authority also will retain the AATA's longstanding brand name "The Ride."

The city councils of both cities already approved the changes to the AATA's articles of incorporation, and Thursday's action by the AATA board was the next step in making the changes official.

The amended articles of incorporation now are being filed with the Washtenaw County Clerk's Office and the Michigan Secretary of State.

Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are uniting to form a stronger transit authority within the county's urban core after plans to create a broader countywide authority fell apart late last year. Schreiber said he thinks the AATA maybe tried to "bite off" too much at once with the countywide plan.


Paul Schreiber

File photo

Ann Arbor residents already pay about 2 mills and Ypsilanti residents pay about 1 mill for AATA services. The A3TA could ask voters to approve a new transit levy on top of those taxes.

Schreiber said he expects the new tax would be significantly less than 1 mill, but the amount hasn't been decided yet.

AATA CEO Michael Ford recently told a few steps remain before a millage could go to voters, but he's expecting those steps to be taken this summer. A decision would need to be made by late August in order to put the question of a new transit tax to voters this fall.

Schreiber noted Ypsilanti voters approved a perpetual charter millage to pay for AATA transit services by a 3-to-1 margin in 2010, so he's confident they'll do the same to further expand services.

"I think there's a lot of support for increasing the bus service," he said, adding many people would like to see more frequent trips between the two cities and longer hours of operation.

But the details still need to be worked out.

"We need to concentrate on getting our voice at the A3TA table," Schreiber said. "I think we're going to have to do some planning and communicating with council members."

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.


Steve Pierce

Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

Depot Town, You don't have your facts straight. According to the data from the State of Michigan, the City of Ypsilanti has the 6th highest tax rate in the entire state and has the highest taxes in all of Washtenaw County. 1. Royal Oak Twp 94.69 2. River Rouge 93.99 3. Ecorse 92.9 4. Highland Park 91.9 5. Detroit 86.2 6. Ypsilanti 83.5 With these new proposed tax increases, Ypsilanti will pass Detroit to become number 5. Cheers, - Steve


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

The one vote for Ypsi City is worthless when there are 8 votes for Ann Arbor. AATA will keep expanding and Ypsi will keep raising their millage rate. There is no benefit for the county at large.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

We could really use a bus to the Whittaker Road library. The Michigan is over crowded as it is. Plus it would open up the area to more paying customers and patrons.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Sounds like PattyinYpsi is a full supporter of subsidies of all kinds. The entitlement culture is alive and well in Ypsi. Why not so long as Patty and others of her ilk reap the benefits while the rest of us get stuck paying the bills!


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

You gotta love limousine liberals!


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

Good public transportation (to be paid for by others) is essential. How else do we expect to get folks to Brandy's to spend their EBT and WIC entitlement money on booze, cigarettes and lottery tickets?


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

Cuing in evil monster laugh as we go after those who shirk their tax paying duties. We really need a good bus system to get people to start using the system without having to use their cars.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Get over yourself. Communities with good, dependable transportation are more successful than those without. That's all there is to it, and your complaining about supplementing others isn't going to change that; instead, it just makes you look close minded, greedy, and demonstrates a lack of civic pride. "Your" tax money *isn't* yours. It is *ours* once you pay it. Now cower as we--horror of socialist horrors!--build an efficient transportation system! Cue evil laughter. Or something.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

As soon as the new mall opens on Wastenaw near Platt, buses are going to be appreciated a whole lot more. Especially by anyone on blood pressure medication. Because the most direct route between Ypsi and AA is about to become a complete log jam. A bus ticket will be a lot cheaper than the gas everyone spends idlng.

Glen S.

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Thank you to Mayor Schreiber and others for having the vision and tenacity to continue pursuing this important goal. For many who work in Ann Arbor bars, restaurants, and retail establishments, as well as at the U-M, and the Health System, public transit may make the difference between having a job, or not -- especially in light of rising gas prices, and the lack of available (and affordable) parking options. That's why having affordable, reliable public transit makes good economic sense -- not only for many workers who live in the Ypsilanti area -- but also for the many Ann Arbor employers who depend on them. Meanwhile, as many baby-boomers begin age out of regular driving, and as new construction makes traffic gridlock (especially along the Washtenaw corridor) more challenging -- having more, and better, public transit options will become be necessary to help maintain our community's overall quality of life. Research consistently shows that regions that invest in public transit have a significant economic advantage over those that don't. With this in mind, Ypsilanti voters have voted overwhelmingly to raise their own taxes to support robust public transit options in our community, and now, our City Council has voted to join the new regional authority. In short, we are saying loud and clear: we support public transit; we want to partner with Ann Arbor and other communities to build a stronger, more regional transit system; and we are willing to tax ourselves to help pay for it.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

If those workers you mention are going to be the main users of the expanded system, perhaps there is an alternate way to pay for it? How about heavy employer contributions? Partnerships with UM? The required purchase of properly priced GoPass for commuting employees?

Jay Thomas

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

I don't want Ann Arbor subsidizing the bus system for other communities. Schools either. If they want to pay to cover it, fine.

Steve Pierce

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

Ypsi has the highest property taxes in the County, with the new Bus millage, Ypsi is poised to surpass Detroit for the Highest Taxes in the entire state. That's vision for you.

Steve Pierce

Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

DT, As usual, you don't have your facts straight. This is the current property tax rates in the State. Ypsilanti is number 6 just behind Detroit. 1. Royal Oak Twp 94.69 2. River Rouge 93.99 3. Ecorse 92.9 4. Highland Park 91.9 5. Detroit 86.2 6. Ypsilanti 83.5 - Steve


Mon, Jun 24, 2013 : 8 p.m.

" but when a wannabe mayoral candidate " As long as we're getting facts straight... he WAS a mayoral candidate, not just a wannabe.

Depot Town

Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

River Rouge has the highest tax rate in the state at 80.4, followed by Ecorse with 79.2, Royal Oak Township at 76.5, Highland Park at 74.0, Inkster at 72.6, and Detroit at 68.2. Ypsilanti has a tax rate of 63.5. For them to surpass Detroit, A3TA would have to increase taxes by 5 mils. That would generate $22 million in Ann Arbor. These are small details, but when a wannabe mayoral candidate can't get his facts straight, it's worth mentioning.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

Are there droves of people wanting to get from AA to Ypsi? Otherwise, if its people from Ypsi to AA, why would AA need to foot the bill?


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

It's called Ypsi residents spending money in AA. Maybe you need to try a little harder to be objective.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Oh -- snap! I'd say you explained it quite well...


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

What's the backup plan when the tax levy fails?

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

In the '60's when we lived in Ypsi and were host family for English exchange students at EMU, you have no idea how difficult it was to explain to them that there was no regular bus service between there and Ann Arbor. They came from a country with real transportation. The sad thing is that nothing has changed and if the isolationists win, nothing will ever change.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

This is great news. Having a good transporation network is vital to having thriving cities. If the transportation system is inclusive enough and efficient enough, more people may leave their cars at home and hop on the bus.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

And it's guaranteed to be good, too, because they'll ask for more tax money. Any time a tax-funded entity gets more taxes, it's a guarantee it'll be well worth it.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Can you include Western Wayne County in the plans? Many of us rely on the Canton Express, and even though The Ride asked Canton Township to subsidize it, I still think there are enough numbers here going into Ann Arbor to maybe even expand it to weekends (I work football), and I think 2 pickups and 2 return drop offs is maybe too little on a weekday. Can we open a dialogue and explore this?

Steve Hendel

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Are you joking? Nowhere in this country do fares alone even come close to covering costs-so who would pay to subsidize this expanded service ?

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Did you catch this bit of news?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Everyone with sense, please dow what you can to tell your family, friends, and coworkers at every opportunity that they MUST get out and vote no on this when the time comes. We should also see what we can do to vote out every person responsible for okaying these continued millage requests. Is there any kind of double jeopardy-type thing that says an entity can't continue seeking millage increases/new millages for the same type of thing (e.g. expansion) after so many times in a year? I think they didn't technically go for one with the county-wide, but they sure were gunning for it. I'm getting tired of the incessant guzzling of dollars. It's time for AATA to stop and take care of home issues instead of putting all their effort into expansion. We MUST vote this down and make it ABSOLUTELY clear that we're not interested in this worldwide takeover philosophy of theirs. Who can be voted out of their position in the AATA; anyone? What's with the regional transporation authority that was created; what's their job? Why is AATA still vigorously pursuing the empire building whrn the RTA should be handling stuff like that? Please, people; you really DO have to put effort into making people aware of this and getting them to vote no. The AATA and mayor and whoever else have plenty of buddies, and they can always count on low voter turnout. THEY have plenty of motivation; millions of your dollars.


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

The RTA handling stuff like that? I would rather deal with AATA expansion to areas that want them, like Ypsilanti and hopefully others, not the countywide debacle they never should have pursued. I do not trust the RTA nor should Washtenaw County had any part in that. Governor Snyder deserves just a much blame for that fiasco. I would rather AATA and additions go it alone than trust a Snyder based regional authority; those other regions will bring Ann Arbor transportation down a notch; the mayor and others have warned us of this.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

I wish the mayor understood that it is not worth the taxes he requires to live in his city. Now he want's to add more. We would have all left if the property values hadn't fallen so much that its not a viable option to sell and leave. Soon He'll have his wish though, 25,000 section 8 renters, and buses everywhere!


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

@PattyinYpsi, I'm so glad you love living in Ypsi. I hope you live in a great neighborhood because I moved far away from Ypsi when then guy got shot by his co-worker in front of my apartment building. I sill read the Ann daily online and find that Ypsi is still the same old Ypsi I remember - full of drug arrests, vandalism, murders, assaults, armed robbery, etc.............. Enjoy your city all you want but I like to live where I feel safe going out after dark!


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

"We would have all left...." Please speak for yourself. I chose to move to Ypsi three years ago, and I love living here.

Dog Guy

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Lord, save us from the vision and optimism of mayors!


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Lord, save us from the unrelenting cynicism of posters!