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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

AATA hosting drop-in session on Friday to answer questions about countywide transit plan

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority officials are inviting residents with questions about the proposed countywide transit expansion to attend a "drop-in session" on Friday.

With the large quantity of information regarding the countywide plan coming out in the next week, AATA officials are hosting the meeting for the general public and Ann Arbor City Council members from 4-7 p.m. in the council chambers inside city hall, 301 E. Huron St.

AATA officials said those interested are welcome to come at their convenience. CEO Michael Ford and AATA staff will be available to review and answer questions about the following:


Michael Ford

  • Financial Task Force recommendations expected to be released on Wednesday
  • Countywide survey results presented at AATA board on Feb. 16
  • Proposed process to improve services in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County
  • Four-party public transportation agreement between the county, AATA, and cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti
  • Articles of incorporation for a new countywide transit authority
  • Other items as they come up

AATA officials said the session is meant as an opportunity to go into depth and make sure everyone has a chance to get their questions answered.

The Ann Arbor City Council is expected to consider the four-party agreement, which lays the framework for creation of a new countywide transit authority, on March 5.

The long-awaited financial recommendations being released are coming from a task force co-chaired by former Washtenaw County Administrator Bob Guenzel and Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley Inc., an Ann Arbor-based real estate company.

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.



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

The A2 Chronicle has a very interesting article and coverage on this issue. It appears that the City Council may have to adjust the agenda for Monday night.

Tom Whitaker

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

I have a question for Michael Ford: How can you look Washtenaw County voters and elected officials in the eye and ask for more tax money for public transportation when you make one of the highest transit CEO salaries in the State, AND accept a $10,000 per year personal automobile allowance so you can commute to work in your own vehicle? Why don't you practice what you preach by living in a "transit-oriented-development" and taking AATA to work? This is a serious question that I would ask, even if I was in favor of this grandiose expansion scheme. Heck, even AATA bus drivers don't take AATA, but choose instead to drive their own vehicles and park them in the neighborhoods near Blake. I would think that the first thing AATA should do is to clean up these two negative public-relations issues before coming to voters with their hands out. The day Mr. Ford trades his $10,000 car allowance for a GO!Pass will be the day I begin to consider supporting paying more taxes for commuter transit.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

I'm extremely concerned about this county-wide expansion. The models that The Ride's website puts forward are for Grand Rapids, Austin, and Boulder. But those cities are 7 to 40 times larger than AA. Are there cities more like AA that we can see as models? How can AA possibly support the kind of infrastructure that those cities can? Most importantly, though: Don't we want people who work in AA to live in AA and be a part of our community and spend their money here and have their kids go to school here and pay taxes here? How can it possibly be in AA's best interest to further a sprawl mentality? Why are we furthering development that will gut AA? What kind of lunacy is that? I'd like someone to be explicit about what the model for AA's future looks like where everyone lives outside and commutes in.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

If they want a really big turn out they need to move that meeting to a more central location where everyone can join in. Right now there is no parking downtown that is affordable and most who do use the AATA system might not be able to get there because of timing. Still waiting for a least a shuttle to the Whittaker Road Library. The meeting place for us is too far for us to drive. But will read it here if the minutes become available.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 7:02 a.m.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Senate bill (SB909) and House bill (HB5309) are in state legislative committees and may be voted into law soon. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Michael Ford and other AATA officials should explain what influence the RTA bill (House and Senate bills have identical language) will have on AATA finances and operations. As I understand the bills, the RTA board will receive federal and state monies previously awarded directly to the AATA and may withhold up to 15% for its own use elsewhere. Would the reduction in funds lead to reduced services by the AATA? With no direct input into the RTA board decisions, how can the AATA prevent the RTA from forcing a Detroit-to-Ann Arbor corridor development program that may adversely effect other transportation services in Ann Arbor? How will the RTA law effect pension and health care programs of the AATA? How is it fair to punish the AATA by withholding 5% of state funds if the RTA board determines that the AATA is not being compliant with the 4-corridors plan when the AATA can not participate in the board's decisions? There are other questions that will be asked in person during the drop-in session.